The governor’s recent order that limits religious services to 10 or less people was one of the topics discussed during a virtual town hall meeting hosted by Leavenworth Mayor Mike Griswold.
“This is a very, very important week for our churches and their congregations,” Griswold said during Wednesday’s virtual town hall meeting.
This week leading up to Easter is recognized as Holy Week.
On Tuesday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an order to limit church services and funerals to 10 or less people. Other types of activities in the state already were being limited to 10 people or less as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But lawmakers overturned that order Wednesday because it likely violates the state’s constitution.
Griswold said he knows some churches in Leavenworth already are offering their services online.
“Hopefully, many of them are able to do this,” he said.
Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens, who also participated in the virtual town hall meeting, said he has a small number of officers who are assigned to enforcement issues related to the stay-at-home order that is in place.
He said these officers will be communicating with local church officials during the next few days to make sure they have copies of the latest order and are informed about what it entails.
“If you have any questions about that, please feel free to contact the Police Department,” he said.
Kitchens said Leavenworth business owners, by and large, are complying with the current stay-at-home order which restricts many business activities. He said Leavenworth officers have not written a citation to someone for violating the order.
Kitchens said the Leavenworth Police Department has seen a small reduction in crime while stay-at-home orders have been in place.
“We have seen a reduction in comparison to this time last year,” he said.
He said this probably is the result of fewer people being out in the community.
Kitchens said there also has been a small reduction in the number of traffic accidents in the city. He said this probably is the result of less traffic in the community.
Kitchens said the Leavenworth Police Department has not reduced the number of officers on patrol.
Griswold asked if the Police Department has seen an increase in domestic violence calls as people have started staying home.
“Right now, we haven’t seen a dramatic spike,” Kitchens said.
But he said officers still have been responding to domestic violence calls.
“The morale at the Police Department is really good,” he said.
Kitchens said members of the public may see officers wearing masks when they come into contact with people.
“It’s a little bit of a new working environment that we’re in,” he said.
Wednesday’s virtual town hall meeting was live-streamed on the city’s Facebook page. This was the fourth virtual town hall meeting to be hosted by the mayor. Griswold said he will have another virtual town hall meeting April 15 unless there is a need to have one earlier.