Restaurants, bars ordered closed

Updated 7:38 p.m. March 17, 2020, to clarify health officer's order.

During a special meeting Tuesday, Leavenworth County commissioners approved a resolution declaring a state of local public health emergency as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

And the Leavenworth County health officer later ordered restaurants, bars, clubs and movie theaters to be closed in the county at midnight tonight and remain closed until at least April 1. Restaurants will be allowed to provide carryout, drive-through and delivery services.

An emergency order from County Health Officer Jamie Miller was posted late Tuesday afternoon on the Leavenworth County Health Department's Facebook page.

According to the order, the community mitigation strategies for responding to the coronavirus crisis now includes the canceling of gatherings of 10 or more people. This does not include normal operations in places “where people may be in transit or coming and going individually or in groups of less than” 10.

The order will be reevaluated April 1.

County officials have closed most county facilities to the public for at least two weeks. Members of the public will not be allowed to attend commission meetings during this period. But members of the public can watch the meetings live on the internet.

Miller said during Tuesday's County Commission meeting that he was looking at guidelines for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, which is known as COVID-19, that have been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as those in place in areas that have been hit by outbreaks of the disease.

“We're looking at best practices,” Miller said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Leavenworth County. But Miller anticipates that will change.

“It's going to happen,” he said. “We're going to have cases.”

Miller said he wants Leavenworth County to be ahead of the curve.

“If we're not proactive, it's too late,” he said.

He said most of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kansas have occurred in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

He noted that the governments of neighboring Wyandotte and Johnson counties as well Jackson County, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri, have implemented measures that prohibit public gatherings of more than 10 people.

County Administrator Mark Loughry announced that most county facilities will be closed to the public for at least 14 days.

He said this would not pertain to the Justice Center, which may have statutory requirements for remaining open.

During the two-week period, members of the public will only be able to observe meetings on the internet.

“We would continue to be on YouTube,” he said.

Loughry also suggested that not all five commissioners be together at the same time during this two-week period. He suggested at least two commissioners can participate in each meeting through teleconferencing.

He said this would eliminate the risk that all five commissioners being exposed to the coronavirus at the same time.

Also at Loughry's suggestion, commissioners canceled public hearings they had scheduled in April. This includes the cancellation of a public hearing for an application for a sand mining operation in the area of 166th Street and Lenape Road that was scheduled for April 15.

According to information placed on the county's website, members of the public still can contact county personnel by phone, email or online to conduct business.

All transactions of the County Treasurer's Office will be handled by mail, online or through the use of drop box located outside of the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

People who are needing a new vehicle registration should call 913-682-0430.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR