KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Officials with Wyandotte County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri, issued a joint order in response to rising COVID-19 cases in the area.
The order was issued Monday afternoon and goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. It will stay in effect until the order is extended, rescinded, replaced or amended, according to the Unified Government Public Health Department and Jackson County officials.
"Let me be clear, we are currently experiencing uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in our communities," Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. said. "Due to the dramatically increasing rate of the disease in our community, our hospitals have warned that they are facing a breaking point and the care their patients desperately rely upon may soon have to be rationed, if not worse."
Leaders said the changes are necessary to keep hospital resources from being overextended.
According to the order, the new guidelines apply to most public spaces, including:
- Entertainment venues including auditoriums, arenas, banquet halls, cinemas, conference centers, concert halls, performance venues, sporting venues, stadiums and theaters; and
- Recreational facilities and places of public amusement, including gyms, fitness, and recreational centers, amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos, night clubs, skating rinks, adult entertainment clubs, water parks and trampoline parks; and
- parties, informal gatherings, lectures, meetings, parades, fairs, festivals, sporting events and performances.
Those public gatherings have to maintain a limit of 50% of the lowest occupancy load in the building or room (whichever is lower) where the gathering is taking place.
If social distancing cannot be maintained under that limit, the capacity should be limited to even fewer people.
Masks must be worn at all times at public gatherings.
All restaurants and other venues serving food and drink also have to follow the 50% occupancy rule and most close by 10 p.m. All patrons have to be seated and masked at all times unless they are actively eating or drinking.
The restaurants also have to limit dining parties to eight or fewer people and parties must be spaced six feet apart.
Large public gatherings with more than 10 people that are not governmental, health care facilities, private business or retail, religious and faith-based, weddings or funerals are prohibited.
Mayor Quinton Lucas issued a similar order for Kansas City, Missouri, residents on Monday.