Nov 17, 2020 8:00 PM

Text of Emergency Public Health Order 20-04

Posted Nov 17, 2020 8:00 PM

A Health Order was issued by the Reno County Interim Health Officer to go into effect for one month beginning on Wednesday, November 18.

The order purports to limit gatherings to 10 people, but there is a full page of exceptions that allow for almost all types of gatherings, provided masks are worn and social distancing is practiced. The full text of the order is below.

The below was copied from an email from Reno County officials and does not include the signature of any officials, merely the text of the order.

This Emergency Public Health Order is effective the 18th day of November, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID 19 pandemic in Reno County, Kansas pursuant to the authority of K.S.A. 65-119 and K.S.A. 65-202 and other applicable laws and regulations.

WHEREAS, the local Health Officer is authorized and required, pursuant to K.S.A. 65-119 and K.S.A. 65-202 to immediately exercise and maintain supervision over known or suspected cases of any infectious or contagious disease during its continuance, and to issue orders seeing that all such cases are properly handled and that the provisions of the Kansas public health laws as to isolation, quarantine and disinfection are duly enforced; and

WHEREAS, the local Health Officer is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and is authorized to prohibit public gatherings when necessary for the control of any and all infectious diseases, pursuant to K.S.A 65-119; and

WHEREAS, on May 26, 2020, the Governor of the State of Kansas declared a STATE OF DISASTER PROCLAMATION in order “to protect Kansas from the economic consequences of COVID-19 and the imminent threat of future outbreaks” and issued Executive Order 20-52 on July 2, 2020, a statewide Order pertaining to the wearing of masks or other face coverings, which Proclamation and Order have been extended and remain in effect; and

WHEREAS, since March 16, 2020 through November 16, 2020 there has occurred in Reno County thirty-three (33) confirmed deaths from COVID-19, 3,534 positive cases, 731 current community active positive cases, 146 total COVID-19 Hospitalizations, and 57 total COVID-19 admissions to its Intensive Care Unit; and

WHEREAS, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Reno County Local Health Officer, all recommend implementation of community mitigation strategies to increase containment of the virus, including restricting large gatherings and social distancing in smaller gatherings; and

WHEREAS, to reduce the spread of COVID-19, measures that are recommended and considered effective by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Reno County Local Health Officer, all recommend, among other measures, covering one’s mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when in public settings; and

WHEREAS, because the increased spread of COVID-19 also presents a serious threat to the continued effective operation of the local economy, the Reno County Commissioners along with the Reno County Interim Health Officer seek to assist businesses being prosperous and continuing to keep job stability within Reno County; and

WHEREAS, wearing a mask in public is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect each other, help keep our businesses open and our economy running, and keep children in school; and

WHEREAS, in general, large public gatherings lead to heightened risks of large-scale COVID-19 person-to-person transmission; and

WHEREAS, the intent of this Order is not to deprive any person or entity of any rights protected by the United States Constitution, the Kansas Constitution, or any other law, but merely to set forth restrictions which would best protect Reno County residents against the community spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, there are certain activities where the wearing of masks and face coverings is exempted pursuant to the terms of this Order where customers may be in the proximity of others for extended periods of time (such as when customers may be eating, drinking, or exercising), which means such activities present a heightened risk of a person infected with COVID-19 transmitting it to another person; and

WHEREAS, for the aforementioned and other reasons, and in recognition and furtherance of the County’s responsibility to provide for and ensure the health, safety, security, and welfare of the people of Reno County, requiring that masks or other face coverings be worn in public, limiting the size of public gatherings, ensuring social distancing, and placing certain other restrictions on activities are all measures that can be taken to slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED by the Interim Local Health Officer, pursuant to the above authorities, that:

1. Effective at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 all public or private mass gatherings as defined below, are restricted within the border of Reno County.

a. Gatherings within a confined space are restricted to no more than “10” people if social distancing cannot be maintained.

i. See Section 2 for exemptions pertaining to gatherings where government operations, religious gatherings, businesses, schools, medical facilities, arenas, and stadiums are outlined.

2. The following activities or facilities are exempt from the prohibition of this order:

a. Operations of the United States Government;

i. Military and National Guard facilities

ii. Department of Corrections

iii. Law Enforcement

iv. Polling Places

b. Religious gatherings, as long as attendees engage in appropriate social distancing;

c. Public, private, or charter schools for instructional purposes;

d. Any facility being used as part of a government or community response to a natural disaster;

e. Public buildings where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within 6 ft. of one another for more than 10 minutes;

f. Public and private businesses; provided, reasonable efforts must be made to social distance by 6 feet in work and break areas.

g. Hospitals and medical facilities;

i. Long Term Care facilities

ii. Assisted Living

h. Shopping malls and other retail establishments where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within 6 ft. of one another for more than 10 minutes;

i. Arenas where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within 6 ft. of one another for more than 10 minutes, and are able to maintain social distancing when seated by more than 6 ft. when not seated with their family units;

j. Outdoor stadiums where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within 6 feet of one another for more than 10 minutes and are able to social distance when seated by more than 6 ft. when not seated with their family units.

▪ Guidance for Business

o Masks: Follow the governor’s mask order and respect businesses that are enforcing this mandate in their businesses. Have masks available for customers, and/or employees to wear mask when working in a public location or working around co-workers if they are not able to social distance by more than 6 ft.

o Telework: Strongly encouraged for all employees when possible.

o On-site Operations: Avoid large gatherings of employees in groups of more than 10 where social distancing protocols cannot be maintained except for infrequent or incidental moments

o Potentially Sick Employees: Any employees exhibiting symptoms should be required to stay at home and asked to call their health care provider.

o Business Travel: Minimize nonessential travel.

o Retail Stores: Due to the transitory nature of individuals within retail stores, their activities shall not be considered mass gatherings. However, retail stores shall be limited to 50 percent of the capacity permitted under the applicable fire code.

o Restaurant and/or bar, night club: Require masks upon entering and until seated, individuals at the same table may be located within 6 feet of one another. However, there shall not be more than 10 individuals at any such table. Also, all tables and individuals seated at a table shall be located at least 6 feet from any other tables and individuals seated at such tables.

o Fitness centers and health clubs: Require masks, social distancing and must frequently clean common touchpoints, which include but are not limited to benches, seating, and lockers

o Nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors and other personal services businesses: where 6 feet of social distancing is not feasible should require mask and serve customers for pre-scheduled appointments or with online check-in with waiting in car until called in

3. Recreational and youth organized sports tournaments, games, practices, and related events may still occur, but attendance shall be limited to a maximum of 2 attendees per participant and such activities shall remain subject to the social distancing and mass gathering provisions. These provisions shall not apply to any collegiate sporting events and sporting events governed by Kansas State High School Activities Association and/or school boards.

This Order shall become effective as of 12:01 A.M. on November 18, 2020 and shall expire on December 18, 2020 unless amended or extended by further local Public Health Officer’s Order.