Kansas City mayor issues state of emergency for city over COVID-19

No events with more than 1,000 people allowed
mayor quinton lucas and kamala harris
Posted at 10:31 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 18:04:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas on Thursday issued a state of emergency for the city amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

The state of emergency was issued for an "initial period" of 21 days, according to a news release from the mayor’s office. The decision was made with input from KCMO Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer and Emergency Medical Services Medical Director Dr. Erica Carney.

LIVE: Mayor Lucas press conference

Under the declaration, all events with more than 1,000 people in attendance must be canceled or delayed until the state of emergency has been lifted.

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“We’re working diligently across departments to prevent potential spread — and we’re asking our community members and business owners to do their part in helping to prevent potential spread,” Lucas said in the release. “Protecting all of our residents remains our top priority, which means that how we interact over the weeks and months ahead will need to change dramatically as we confront our current public health challenge. I appreciate our community’s understanding during this ever-changing time and encourage all residents to continue exercising good judgment.”

Lucas also suspended non-essential travel for city employees until the emergency is lifted.

Under a state of emergency, the mayor also can order evacuation of areas deemed a threat to public health and safety; impose a curfew; and order the closing of businesses and stores. Lucas did not say he was taking any of those steps at this time.

Independence Mayor Eileen Weir also issued a state of emergency on Thursday ahead of a planned news conference at 1 p.m. The city said there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city, but the emergency was being issued "out of an abundance of caution."

As of Thursday morning, no cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Jackson County. Four Johnson County residents have tested positive for the virus.

Anyone Kansas City resident who wants to receive text updates from the city about coronavirus can text "COVIDKC" to 888-777, according to the city.