Supporting public health and safety: Riley County phased reopening announced

(Illustration by Julie Freijat | Collegian Media Group)

The Riley County Health Department announced a phased reopening plan to go in effect at 12:01 a.m. May 4.

“The new order will continue to reduce the spread of the virus and will rely on a phased approach based upon testing capacity, local data, and contact tracing capabilities,” local health officer Julie Gibbs said in a press release. “The goal will be to help the community reopen in a way that supports public health and safety as well as economic vitality.”

Gibbs said the Riley County plan closely follows the state-wide phases Gov. Laura Kelly announced April 30. The plan, Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas, goes into affect May 4.

The main difference for the first phase of the Riley County plan is a limit to 50 percent occupancy at dine-in restaurants. In addition, those establishments will close at 10 p.m.

Childcare providers must follow the current guidelines in the stay-at-home order and limit the number of children in their care to stable groups of 10.

“We recognize the need to provide a few more restrictions than Governor Kelly’s order partly because Riley County is a regional hub of activity, and also because restaurants are places where prolonged contact between people can increase the risk of transmission,” Gibbs said.

The phases last a minimum of 14 days and can be extended as deemed fit by health officials. In addition, Riley County can revert to previous phases if there is a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Gibbs added Riley County can only be more restrictive than the state, not less.

My name is Bailey Britton and I am the former editor-in-chief of the Collegian. Previously, I have been the assistant news editor and the managing editor. I have also interned for the Manhattan Mercury and the Colby Free Press. I grew up in Colby, Kansas, and I am a junior in journalism and English. Through the Collegian, I aim to provide the K-State community with quality news coverage while we learn to serve our campus.