Reopening Kansas and Sedgwick County
On Thursday, May 14th Governor Kelly announced Phase 1.5 of the reopening plan for Kansas local governments. According to the plan, some businesses could open on Monday, May 18 such as hair salons and fitness centers with additional restrictions while others will continue to be closed, including bars, theaters, museums and more. Mass gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited. More information can be found online at

On Thursday, April 30th Governor Laura Kelly outlined the first phase of the reopening plan for Kansas local governments. This framework allows Kansas counties to retain the ability to enact more restrictive orders, but not less restrictive. Following the announcement of the orders, Sedgwick County Commissioners did not pass any additional restrictions for Sedgwick County businesses.

Based on the Governor's orders, Phase One restrictions begin Monday, May 4.

Guidance for employers
General guidelines for employers can be found on p. 27 of the full plan (link above), or see below for an overview of Phase One guidance.

  • Encourage telework whenever possible.
  • Avoid large gatherings of employees of 10 or more where social distancing protocols cannot be maintained.
  • Require any employees with symptoms to stay home.
  • Minimize or eliminate non-essential travel.
  • Prohibit visits to long-term care or correctional facilities.

Establishments not allowed to open in Phase One include bars and nightclubs (except those already providing curbside/carryout service), indoor leisure spaces (theaters, museums, etc.), casinos (non-tribal), fitness centers and gyms, personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided (hair and nail salons, barber shops, etc.)

Businesses not specifically prohibited may open if they can:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance between individuals or groups.
  • Follow fundamental cleaning and public health practices. Additional sector-specific best practices guidance is also strongly encouraged.
  • Avoid instances in which groups of more than 10 people are in one location and unable to maintain a six-foot distance with only infrequent or incidental moments of close proximity.

Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear cloth masks and employees should follow industry-specific guidance on mask use in the workplace.

Entering into next phases
The State will monitor health metrics and criteria to determine entering into the next phase. These include testing rates, death rates, hospitalizations, ability of State and Local public health authorities to contain outbreaks and conduct contact tracing and personal protective equipment availability. Based on the plan outline, the four-phase plan includes specific outlined health metrics, limitations on gatherings, and guidance for individuals and employers on business and activity restrictions.

More information about the Kansas COVID-19 Response and Recovery can be found at

Community Development Block Grant Program

Expedited process for $6.3 million in Community Development Block Programs
The State of Kansas has streamlined the application process for Community Development Block Programs. These economic development grants to cities or counties are loaned to provide gap financing for private businesses that create or retain permanent jobs. Previously, the review and public notice process took 30 days before loans could be issued. Now, the Department of Commerce can provide certification with 24 hours and communities can issue working capital loans to businesses in as little as two days. Learn more.

Additional funding secured to support community responses
More than $9M in federal funding has been secured for the State’s Community Development Block Grant program to support community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants, made available to Kansas counties and communities in two categories – economic development and meal programs – will be administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce. The economic development grants will be given to communities to help local businesses and organizations retain low-to-moderate income jobs.

Applications for the grants opened Tuesday, May 12 and can be submitted here. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. View news releaseLearn more.

Unemployment benefits extension
Governor Laura Kelly recently signed this extension, extending unemployment benefits from 16 to 26 weeks.