Today, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed House Bill 2054 passed by the Kansas legislature that would have weakened the executive branch’s emergency power during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The state had been in Phase 2 of the Governor’s plan to reopen, but Kelly said going forward, she’ll offer her Ad Astra plan only as guidance to county health officials, who can impose health, business and mass gathering limits.
Johnson County Government will not impose additional limits, based on current conditions. Johnson County Local Health Officer Dr. Joseph LeMaster and Johnson County Department of Health and Environment director Dr. Sanmi Areola both strongly recommend that Johnson County residents and businesses continue to adhere to the phases and guidance in the state’s Ad Astra plan.
“We cannot stress highly enough the importance of residents and businesses continuing to follow the guidance of the Ad Astra plan. This will give us the time we need to monitor the data and see the impact of loosening restrictions, reopening businesses and the gatherings that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend,” said Johnson County Local Health Officer Dr. Joseph LeMaster. “It is crucial that we all continue to practice physical distancing, wear barrier masks where we cannot maintain social distancing, practice good hygiene and make decisions that protect the health of the community. If businesses and residents follow the recommendations, we have hope that the good progress we have made until now will continue.”
“Now that we are a few weeks past the end of the stay-at-home order and the beginning of reopening our economy, we are seeing an increase of positive cases, just as we anticipated,” said Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Dr. Sanmi Areola. “We will continue to investigate outbreaks, increase testing and ramp up contact tracing and investigations. We will also continue to work with Long Term Care Facilities to mitigate the spread among our most vulnerable population. We’ve appreciated how Johnson County has taken steps to flatten the curve, and strongly urge you to continue to help with that effort.”
Kelly said she would sign a new, 15-day state disaster declaration beginning at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, that will extend some, but not all, of her previous emergency orders, which is set to expire at midnight on June 10. For complete details of the Governor’s actions, see the state’s media release.