Leavenworth County commissioners had planned to review a plan for reopening the county when they met Thursday. But they decided to wait until after the governor announced her plans for reopening the state.
Commissioners now plan to meet again Friday afternoon to discuss the next steps for the county.
"We can’t really do anything until we find out what the governor is doing," Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said.
He spoke during Thursday’s special meeting of the County Commission. He participated in the meeting by telephone.
A statewide stay-at-home order and a governor’s order limiting mass gatherings to no more than 10 people are scheduled to expire at the end of Sunday.
As of press time Thursday, Gov. Laura Kelly had not yet announced her plan for moving forward. But she was scheduled to unveil her plan for reopening the state later Thursday evening.
County officials had prepared a proposal for a three-phase plan for easing restrictions related to COVID-19 in Leavenworth County. A draft of the document was released ahead of the County Commission special meeting Thursday morning.
When commissioners met Thursday, County Administrator Mark Loughry said county officials had received indication last week from the governor’s office that any new orders from the governor would be much more relaxed.
Loughry said he, County Health Officer Jamie Miller and Senior County Counselor David Van Parys began working on new guidelines to put in place once statewide restrictions were relaxed.
Loughry said county officials also had been under the impression the governor would be making her announcement Wednesday, which is why a special meeting of the County Commission had been scheduled for Thursday.
County officials later learned the governor would not make her announcement until Thursday.
"We also had some indication from different sources that potentially that order is going to be much more restrictive than we originally thought," Loughry said.
He said the statewide plan could end up being stricter than what county officials were looking at putting in place. This would make the county plan moot.
Miller, who was present for Thursday’s meeting, said it is his understanding the governor’s office may be taking the lead on phasing in a plan to reopen Kansas. Some areas of the state may implement guidelines that are stricter than what is ordered by the governor. But a county plan cannot be more relaxed than the governor’s order.
"We may not have to do anything," Miller said.
Miller said he will need time to review the plan announced by the governor.
Commissioners agreed to meet again at 1 p.m. Friday.
Members of the public had arranged to make comments by telephone during Thursday’s meeting. They were notified that commissioners were planning to meet again Friday.
Commission Chairman Doug Smith said he preferred to wait until Friday to hear the comments from members of the public. He said some of the comments could change based on what the governor announced Thursday evening.
Stieben said it was unfortunate the governor had waited so late in the week to make her announcement.
Smith said he wished commissioners could have approved something Thursday so people in the county would know what to do on Monday.
The Leavenworth County Courthouse remains closed to the public. But people wanting to watch Friday’s commission meeting can view it live on the county's YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIoaDlW1ch-QLR_HsaQMJQQ