KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread across the world, and in Missouri and Kansas.
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Updates on the spread of the virus and how it is affecting the metro can be found below for May 21.
9:08 p.m. | Missouri Farm Bureau wrapped up its statewide food drive earlier this month and announced Thursday that more than 3,357 pounds of non-perishables and $41,510 in donations had been collected, which “equates to well over 415,000 meals for Missourians that find themselves in a food insecure situation.”
8:17 p.m. | Three local food banks — Harvesters Community Food Network in Kansas City, Missouri, along with Kansas Food Bank based in Wichita and Second Harvest Food Bank based in St. Joseph — will receive millions in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA announced Thursday it will reimburse the three food banks up to $5.7 million for costs associated with feeding those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of an emergency declaration by Kansas.
6:08 p.m. | The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts announced that "Menopause the Musical" has been canceled, including the postponed Aug. 2, 2020, engagement. Tickets will be refunded automatically.
However, Friends of the Kansas City Broadway Series have access to a special on-demand streaming special. For each ticket purchased, therater-lovers can screen a filmed version for two weeks from the time of purchase by ordering online.
6 p.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council voted to make it easier for restaurants to get permits for outdoor seating and alcohol service. The changes take effect immediately.
5:30 p.m. | The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department has Memorial Day plans in place to provide a safe environment for visitors to its lakes over the holiday weekend.
5 p.m. | Missouri is all-in on COVID-19 testing, which Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday will be a critical component as schools reopen in the fall and looking toward the annual flu season.
Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams said community, or prevalence, testing has been added to ongoing surveillance and box-in testing strategies as Missouri fights to contain the pandemic. Community sampling already took place in 13 counties, but there are plans to perform roughly 975 prevalence tests per day in six new counties during the next 10 days. Jackson County is among those six counties.
4:50 p.m. | Legends Outlets Kansas City says that under new guidelines from Wyandotte County that align with the state's modified Phase 2 reopening plan, the outlet mall will reopen with modified hours. Those hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday until further notice.
4:20 p.m. | Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's office has responded to a legal opinion issued late Wednesday by Attorney General Derek Schmidt that questions the validity of emergency orders without a legislative process.
In the statement, the governor said she did not find the legal opinion to be an attempt at an "honest conversation about reviewing and modernizing" the Kansas Emergency Management Act.
"If it were, the Attorney General would not have released his legal opinion in the middle of the night right before the last day of the legislative session, and the Legislature would not be trying to cram multiple pieces of legislation – many of which have not been thoroughly vetted by the public – into what is traditionally a ceremonial end of the legislative session," Kelly's office said in the statement. "Governor Kelly welcomes the conversation about KEMA, but in a thoughtful manner that allows stakeholders like local government officials and emergency managers to weigh in on this important subject."
4 p.m. | The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway plans to reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 25, pending approval at the state and local level.
In a Facebook post, the casino says it has been working with state and local leaders and public health officials on reopening protocols and safety precautions.
3:30 p.m. | RideKC says service routes will begin to offer more hours beginning May 31 as the region continues to reopen. Some routes will transition back to hours that existed before changes that took place April 12. Schedules are available on the RideKC website.
3:09 p.m. | Johnson County residents experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can get tested for free with an online appointment, if they are unable to get tested by their primary care physician.
The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment announced that drive-thru testing is now available at its Olathe office, 11875 S. Sunset Drive. There are 60 to 90 tests available each day from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
2:30 p.m. | The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, says it is contributing $175,000 in partnership with financial firm AltCap to launch the KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund.
The funding, approved by the Board of Commissioners, will help support microloans in Wyandotte County for businesses impacted by COVID-19. AltCap will begin accepting applications Wednesday, May 27.
1:10 p.m. | Buffalo Wild Wings locations on both sides of the state line in the Kansas City area reopened Wednesday. The restaurant said single-use, disposable menus and condiments will be provided for all customers. Wellness checks will be provided for employees at the beginning of their shifts.
12:55 p.m. | Life Time fitness center locations in the Kansas City metro will reopen on Tuesday, May 26. The company has locations in Lenexa and Overland Park.
12:30 p.m. | Missouri Gov. Mike Parson will give the keynote address at Sparta High School's graduation on Thursday night. Parson's granddaughter is one of the seniors receiving diplomas. Attendance will be limited, and families will be spaced apart, the school says.
12:15 p.m. | President Donald Trump praised Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly for her administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, saying both she and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson have done "a fantastic job.”
Kelly, who traveled to the White House on Wednesday, said she will not hold a scheduled press briefing on Thursday afternoon. Instead, she will speak at 2 p.m. Friday, along with Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman.
Thursday also is the final day of the Kansas Legislature's 2020 session.
Noon | The Kansas City Symphony will host a Best of Bank of America Celebration at the Station concert to be televised at 7 p.m. Monday, May 24, and 8:30 p.m. Monday, May 25, on KCPT — Kansas City PBS. The concert will feature “best of” moments from 17 years of the symphony’s past Memorial Day weekend concerts.
11 a.m. | The Transportation Security Administration announced several changes to airport screening policies. Passengers will be allowed to have one bottle of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces in their carry-on bags. Agents also will no longer handle boarding passes. Though wearing a mask through the screening process is “highly encouraged,” it will not be required.
10:20 a.m. | At 2 p.m. on Thursday, all RideKC buses and streetcar vehicles will sound their horns in honor of essential transportation workers. RideKC joins other transportation agencies across the country in the event.
10:10 a.m. | The Kansas City Irish Fest will not take place in its "traditional format" over the Labor Day weekend this year, organizers announced Thursday. The decision was made because of uncertainty surrounding restrictions and guidelines that may be in place later this year.
"As Kansas City begins to reopen throughout the coming weeks and months, we will be reimagining our 18th Irish Fest as a series of smaller, Irish-themed, locally focused community experiences in order to provide a safe and healthy environment for our patrons," organizers said in a news release. "We’ll keep you informed as plans develop."
9:30 a.m. | Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a legal opinion on whether Kansas can prosecute residents who violate emergency orders issued by Gov. Laura Kelly. He questioned the validity of emergency orders when there is no legislative process before they are issued.
9 a.m. | Kraft Heinz confirmed there has been a COVID-19 outbreak at its Kirksville, Missouri, factory. The company said "a handful" of employees tested positive and were self-quarantining at their homes.
8:44 a.m. | University of Kansas Health System officials gave their daily COVID-19 update.
8:26 a.m. | Pyro City in Lone Jack, Missouri, is now selling fireworks online to accommodate social distancing. Online orders must be picked up at the store.
8:10 a.m. | The Lake Olathe Marina opens at 1 p.m. Thursday.
The Lake Olathe Marina opens Monday at 1 p.m.!
Social distancing and cleaning guidelines will be in place. Rentals will be by appointment only.
— City Of Olathe, KS (@CityofOlatheKS) May 21, 2020
8:09 a.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department is offering free, walk-up COVID-19 testing at the Super Flea parking lot from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.
No registration required. Walk-ups welcome!
— KCMO Health Dept (@KCMOHealthDept) May 21, 2020
7:45 a.m. | Just starting your day? We’ve got you covered with a quick look at what you need to know.
7:39 a.m. | 2.4 million American filed for unemployment last week, bringing the nine-week total to 38 million.
7 a.m. | How should you celebrate Memorial Day Weekend? Dr. Dana Hawkinson said he's hoping for bad weather so everyone is forced to social distance.
6:30 a.m. | World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Wednesday that a spike in cases has sent the number of one-day cases globally above 100,000 for the first time since the outbreak. Tedros said that there were 106,000 new cases of the virus, as the worldwide total of cases approaches 5 million since the beginning of the outbreak.
5:30 a.m. | Blue Springs, Missouri, is the latest city to cancel its Fourth of July celebrations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City is announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Red, White and Blue Springs Fireworks Show. This decision was made with great care & consideration for the health & safety of the community. Read more: https://t.co/UqEg737S82 pic.twitter.com/OghvFzdM3c
— Blue Springs (@BlueSpringsGov) May 20, 2020
5:10 a.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council will vote Thursday on three ordinances that would allow restaurants to serve guests on sidewalks, parking lots and streets.
5 a.m. | Kansas City, Missouri, Councilman Brandon Ellington will partner with another area church on Thursday to host a drive-thru food bank. It will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Victorious Life Church, 3400 Paseo.
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