Supporting public health and safety: Riley County phased reopening announced

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(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.

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My name is Bailey Britton and I am the managing editor for the Collegian. I grew up in Colby, Kansas. I am a sophomore studying journalism with minors in leadership studies and English. I value quality news coverage and believe that communication is a vital part of solving problems. When I have free time, I like to spend time with friends and family or be outdoors with a good book.