Roughly six weeks passed since quarantine orders were handed down by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly when the COVID-19 pandemic began being seen in Kansas.

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Roughly six weeks passed since quarantine orders were handed down by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Kansas.


On Monday, the first phase of reopening the state and lifting stay-at-home orders went into effect, with a goal of moving forward every 14 days toward total reopening on June 15.


According to Kelly, the state will set the regulatory baseline for Kansas local governments in each phase of this framework, allowing local governments to retain the ability to impose additional restrictions that are in the best interest of the health of their respective residents.


If a county feels the need to keep stay-at-home orders in play, it will be able to do so.


Executive Order 20-29 states, "local units of government cannot be less restrictive than the Governor’s plan. They may not allow businesses or activities explicitly prohibited in each phase of the Governor's plan. The Governor will issue another executive order to move the state’s regulatory baseline into Phase Two when appropriate.


"Until then, local units of government may not move into Phase Two on their own."


As the phases move along, residents should continue social distancing, practice good hygiene, remain home when sick, follow isolation and quarantine orders issued by state or local health officers, use cloth face masks when in public, and continue to clean and disinfect surfaces.


Additional guidelines can be found on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website or on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Some of the guidelines for businesses and restaurants that are open include maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between consumers with restaurants using physical barriers sufficient to prevent virus spread between seated customers or groups of seated customers.


Restaurants will be allowed to have more than 10 people at a time as there will not be occupancy limits in place, as long as they continue to follow social distancing guidelines between consumers and limit areas and instances in which consistent physical distancing cannot be maintained by groups of 10 or more individuals.


Businesses not allowed to open in Phase One are bars and nightclubs, excluding already operating curbside and carryout services; casinos (non-tribal); theaters, museums, and other indoor leisure spaces; fitness centers and gyms; and nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and other personal service businesses.


Churches will also be allowed to have more than 10 people for services as long as social distancing guidelines are adhered to.


Libraries will also be allowed to reopen.


According to Dodge City Public Library executive director Diedre Lemon, DCPL has begun working on its phased reopening plan.


"The library building will remain closed to follow mass gathering and social distancing guidelines," Lemon said. "The DCPL Board of Trustees plans to meet on Tuesday, May 5 at 4 p.m. to discuss our phased reopening plan.


"We want to say to our community, we miss seeing you at the Dodge City Public Library. We thank you for your continuing support. Stay home, practice social distancing, and wash your hands."


Golf courses will be allowed to open in Phase One, but golf tournaments will be a Phase Two opening.


Rodeos will be under Phase Two openings as well.
 Funerals will be part of Phase One but will be subject to the mass gathering restrictions.


Phase Two will occur no sooner than May 18, according to Kelly, and Phase Three no sooner than June 1.


For more information on Phase One guidelines, visit https://covid.ks.gov/.


Ford County cases


Over the weekend, Ford County physician adviser Dr. R.C. Trotter confirmed the third death tied to COVID-19 in Ford County.


For a brief moment, according to KDHE, Ford County had the highest case count in the state of Kansas.


On Monday, the county had recorded 832 cases with 13 hospitalizations, three mechanical ventilations, eight ICU admissions and seven patients discharged.


There have been 1,929 tests conducted in Ford County with a testing rate of 57.38 per 1,000 people and a case rate of 24.75 per 1,000 people, giving a positive rate of 43.1% and 1,097 negative test results.


Wyandotte County moved back into the highest number of cases by county position with 879 cases.


For the state, the number of cases reached 5,245 with 553 hospitalizations, 136 deaths and 33,358 negative tests.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.