It’s important to reopen the economy, but social distancing is still the top priority, local health officer says

(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

Riley County Health Department released a restricted activities order that will take effect on May 4.

“We have worked hard on putting together a very detailed and thought-out order,” local health officer Julie Gibbs said. “We determined restrictive movement was the most appropriate title. This is no longer a stay-at-home order, but our message is very similar — please limit your movement and get out only when necessary.”

The order is slightly more restrictive than Gov. Laura Kelly’s order. Gibbs said the governor had to take the whole state into consideration, so Riley County and others need to be more restrictive with reopening than rural areas of the state.

While there is a need to stimulate the economy, Gibbs said social distancing is still imperative. Masks are still recommended.

“Our desire is to work with the businesses, work with the community,” assistant director of the Riley County Police Department Kurt Moldrup said.

In the order, restaurants in Riley County are limited to 50 percent capacity and must close at 10 p.m.

Elective surgeries will resume at Via Christi starting Monday. All patients will be tested before their procedure. Gibbs said many people could be asymptomatic and infect others.

“We will always let you know when there is more information,” Gibbs said.

Riley County reported one new positive case of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total to 52. There are 29 people who are considered recovered in the county.

The new infected individual is a 23-year-old female. She is isolating at home.

Individuals with symptoms are encouraged to call the screening line at 785-323-6400. People with non-emergent questions about COVID-19 in Riley County should send an email to

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.