Kansas Businesses Ready To Safely Reopen


Topeka, KAN – With the end of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s statewide stay at home order, the Kansas Chamber and its members look to get the state economy back on track.

“It has been a difficult few months for Kansas. Thousands of businesses were forced to close or reduce their services. Many had to layoff or furlough dedicated employees. More than 215,000 Kansans filed for unemployment during the last six weeks.” said Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb. “Kansas businesses are committed to reopening, and to safely bringing back their employees and to safely serving their customers so our communities have confidence in our state’s reopening.”

Cobb continued, “The Chamber will continue to monitor how our state’s health metrics progress in the coming weeks and advocate for additional restrictions to be loosened or eliminated when appropriate, especially for businesses still restricted from opening their doors. More long-term damage will be done to the Kansas economy the longer all businesses are not allowed to fully operate.”

To jump start the Kansas economy, Cobb said the governor and Kansas Legislature should consider key legislation and reforms proposed by the state’s business community.

“Kansas was one of the last states to fully recover from the 2008-09 recession” said Cobb. “The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses and families will have long-term consequences if swift actions aren’t taken to remove barriers and encourage investments in our state. Kansas will lose more businesses and jobs permanently.”

Kansas counties and local health officials will have broad authority to issue stricter orders once the governor’s statewide stay at home order expires. Cobb cautioned it is important local restrictions remain reasonable and uniform across jurisdictions while also being necessary to maintain public health. Any restrictions should take care not to burden essential functions as laid out in the Kansas Essential Functions Framework.

“There is recourse if a county or local health officer becomes too restrictive or unreasonable,” said Cobb. “Orders issued by counties, so far, have implicated some due process requirements. While counties can regulate public gatherings, the previous county orders also have invoked the ability of counties to isolate individuals and make them stay home. Under those powers, Kansas businesses and individuals who believe they are unreasonably burdened by overly-restrictive orders generally have the right to a judicial hearing within 72 hours under K.S.A. 65-129c.”

Cobb explained at a hearing, the court must grant relief unless it determines that the order is necessary and reasonable to prevent or reduce the spread of an outbreak of an infectious or contagious disease.

“The local health officer also will need to show why he or she has reason to believe the person in question has been exposed to an infectious or contagious disease. The local order must be medically necessary and reasonable to prevent or reduce the spread of the infectious or contagious disease,” said Cobb.

Kansas businesses that believe a county or local health officer is unreasonable in restricting businesses or other activities can contact the Kansas Chamber at 785/-357-6321 or President@KansasChamber.org.


For more information, contact Sherriene Jones-Sontag.

Posted April 30, 2020

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