Gov. Laura Kelly has presented her detailed framework for a phased-in approach to begin reopening the state. Currently, Douglas County has aligned with the Governor’s plan, which is currently in Phase 3. And Local Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino has extended Phase 3 until further notice. A public health order issued September 3 requires establishments to stop serving alcohol at 9 p.m. and close premises at 10 p.m. (link to news release and order)
Anyone with questions about a public health order can email email@example.com or review these guidelines for restaurants , parks and recreation facilities and libraries.
Here are some other FAQs and our guidance for "Smart and Safe: Reopening Douglas County"
What phase are we in? How long will it last?
- Phase 3 began on June 8. Due to the increase in recent cases, we have remained in Phase 3 until further notice. An updated health order issued Sept. 4 requires establishments with liquor licenses to stop serving alcohol by 9 p.m. and close premises by 10 p.m. Local decisions about moving beyond Phase 3 to the scheduled Phase Out will depend on measures of local and statewide rates of transmission, hospitalizations and public health system capacity. Please visit LDCHealth.org/coronavirus and douglascountyks.org/coronavirus for information about the current phase and guidelines.
Can I gather in large groups now that the stay-at-home order is lifted?
- Each phase has a limit on how many people can gather in one space at a time. For Phase 3, Mass gatherings of 45 or more people are prohibited. Mass gatherings are defined as instances in which individuals are in one location and are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.
- Guidance for individuals
* Outdoor activities: When in public (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), individuals (not including individuals who reside together) should maintain 6 feet of distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moment of closer proximity.
* Social gatherings: Avoid socializing in person with groups of more than 45 individuals in both indoor and outdoor settings, especially in circumstances that do not allow for a physical distance of 6 feet or more between individuals or groups with only infrequent or incidental moments or closer proximity (e.g., receptions, trade shows).
What businesses are still closed in Phase 3?
- All businesses, activities and venues, including swimming pools, may open if they can maintain at least six feet of social distance between individuals or groups, follow fundamental cleaning and public health practices, and avoid instances in which the mass gathering limit is exceeded and individuals are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity. All restaurants, bars and entertainment venues with a liquor license to cease serving alcohol at 9
p.m. and close their premises including all outside seating areas or patios to customers no later than
Establishments may conduct carryout, curbside or off-premises delivery of food only after 10 p.m.
but no carryout or curbside delivery of alcohol beverages after 9 p.m.
Restaurants that do not serve alcohol are not required to close at 10 p.m.
Are restaurants able to reopen for dine-in business?
- Restaurants were able to reopen for dine-in business, with some restrictions, beginning Monday, May 18. Please see the guidance for more details. Under the Sept. 4 public health order, restaurants and bars with a liquor license are required to cease serving alcohol at 9 p.m. and shall close their premises, including all outside seating areas or patios, to customers no later than 10 p.m. Restaurants and bars serving alcohol may conduct carry-out, curbside and off-premises delivery of food items only after 10 p.m. There shall be no carry-out, curbside or off-premises delivery of alcoholic beverages after 9 p.m. Restaurants that do not have a liquor license are not required to close at 10 p.m.
What is required for bars and restaurants to operate under the September 3 public health order?
A July 3 public health order closed bars in Douglas County in response to a large number of cases stemming from bar environments. In recent weeks, leaders acknowledged some ambiguity regarding definitions in the order and seeing behaviors that increased risk for exposure to COVID-19 in establishments where alcohol was consumed.
The Sept. 3 public health order requires:
- All restaurants, bars and entertainment venues with a liquor license to cease serving alcohol at 9 p.m. and close their premises including all outside seating areas or patios to customers no later than 10 p.m.
- Establishments may conduct carryout, curbside or off-premises delivery of food only after 10 p.m. but no carryout or curbside delivery of alcohol beverages after 9 p.m.
- Restaurants that do not serve alcohol are not required to close at 10 p.m.
- Restaurants and bars serving alcohol to have patrons seated at a table with a maximum group of 10 people per table, and social distancing requirements between tables and groups of patrons observed.
- No customers standing at or congregating at a bar or counter, and all food and beverages consumed by patrons while seated, except for carryout services.
- Face masks need to be worn by anyone who is inside a public space or outside and unable to maintain six feet of social distance from non-household members. There are exceptions, including for children 5 or younger.
- Prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 45 people, which are instances in which individuals who don’t reside together are in one location and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance.
- Dance floors at entertainment venues and establishments to be closed for dancing and may be repurposed for table seating.
What guidelines are required for entertainment venues?
Entertainment Venues are venues or bars that usually operate late into the night and are generally distinguished from regular bars, pubs or taverns due to having limited tables or no tables, and limited or no food service. Some may have a stage, one or more dance floor areas and/or a DJ booth or other sound system where music or other types of entertainment are featured. Entertainment Venues include nightclubs, dance halls, and similar businesses, including businesses that are BYOB.
Entertainment venues must follow the same requirements as listed above for bars and restaurants, along with:
- An occupancy limitation of 100 people for entertainment venues, provided social distancing and face mask requirements are maintained.
- All food and beverage at an Entertainment Venues must be consumed by patrons while seated.
- All patrons are required to be seated at all times when not entering/exiting the business or visiting a restroom facility.
- A face mask is required to be worn by any patron not seated at a table.
- There will be no buffet service.
What happens if a bar or restaurant violates the Sept. 3 public health order requirements?
An intentional violation of a public health order carries a civil penalty of up to $2,500, and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office makes decisions on pursuing prosecution of such complaints. Anyone with questions or a complaint about compliance with a public health order can email firstname.lastname@example.org, where Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health staff will follow up on specific complaints.
Is self-serve food and beverage allowed?
- Self-serve food and drinks are allowed, however, we recommend keeping them closed as long as feasible or having a staff member serve customers instead of customers serving themselves. The Sept. 4 public health order prohibits buffet service in restaurants.
Are farm wineries allowed to open for on-premises consumption?
- Beginning on Monday May 18, farm wineries may open for operations with the following recommendations:
- Adhere to the social distancing guidelines of 6 feet of distance between parties, and the mass gathering limit (no more than 45 people in an indoor space, and groups of no more than 45). It is also recommended that all tastings occur outdoors. Businesses should post signage notifying the public of the rules. See additional recommendations and best practices outlined for restaurants.
When will pools reopen?
Pools are allowed to open beginning in Phase 3, with restrictions on how many people can be in the space at one time that are in accordance with the mass gathering restrictions of each phase, as well as measures to encourage social distancing
What type of mask should I wear? What if I need a mask but don’t have one?
For the general public, a cloth face covering is recommended in all businesses and public places. Please see CDC guidance on making and wearing a cloth mask. Please reserve medical-grade surgical masks and N95 masks for healthcare workers. Anyone who needs a mask can request one from the United Way at http://rhvc.galaxydigital.com/cloth-masks/
Are employees required to wear masks at work?
All businesses or organizations in Douglas County must require all employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a mask or other face covering when:
- Employees are working in any space visited by customers or members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
- Employees are working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
- Employees are working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
- Customers, members, visitors, or members of the public are in a facility managed by the business or organization; or
- Employees are in any room or enclosed area where other people (except for individuals who reside together) are present and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance except for infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.
Should I plan a large event for this summer?
The limit and the phase that we are in will depend on local and statewide rates of transmission, hospitalizations, and public health system capacity. It is wise to assume that it will be difficult to plan large events with certainty through the summer months.
If I live in one county and work in another, which guidance should I follow?
Because local health orders are designed based on the current level of exposure of COVID-19 in a county, in general, you should follow the guidance from your home county. For example, if there is a stay-at-home order in your home county, but not the county where you work, you should continue to follow the stay-at-home order. However, if your place of work is open and your home county’s rules allow you to go to work, your place of work may be subject to local rules and guidelines, which you should follow while working there.
Are dental offices allowed to open for non-emergency procedures?
Dental offices may open, as long as they have sufficient PPE to safely perform procedures and ensure protection for themselves and their patients. Dental offices may choose to offer emergency services only if they feel that is the most appropriate course of action.