Currently the COVID-19 statewide quarantine is scheduled to be lifted May 3, unless Governor Kelly extends it.
Due to the March 17 “stay at home” order, only businesses deemed essential have remained open, with others struggling to adapt to a flailing economy. School buildings have been closed, and classroom education has been replaced with virtual meetings and lessons.
Locally Johnson County government has furloughed more than 250 employees, and Olathe and Overland Park have announced layoffs. At this point, neither Edgerton or Gardner has furloughed employees, although Edgerton has postponed filling existing vacancies.
Gardner’s council approved a May 4 reopening at their April 13 meeting, and Steve Shute, mayor, made the announcement on social media. Although there was discussion on social media that Gardner was planning to purchase virus tests, according to the city clerk April 22, no tests had been purchased or a request approved.
Gardner issued the following statement April 27:
“Johnson County has a task force working on a phased re-opening plan that we anticipate will be completed in the next few days. The plan will help guide the county’s decision on whether to issue a new order once the Governor’s order expires on May 3. We continue to plan for a May 4 re-opening in the event the Governor’s order is not extended and the county does not issue a new order. We are working to secure a PPE supply chain to assist businesses that will need those supplies once the order is lifted to reopen. We are also continuing our work with various vendors and community partners to secure the resources needed for community testing. Our goal is to keep Gardner ahead of the curve in our response so we keep our community safe while allowing our businesses to reopen,” according to Daneeka Marshall-Ouendo, public info officer.
Reopening plans for Edgerton will be determined once guidelines are available from the county and state, according to Kara Banks, public information officer. “Mayor Don Roberts has cancelled all city events for May based on the current social distancing guidelines and limits to mass gatherings,” she said.
“Once the state and Johnson County announce their reopening plans this week, Edgerton will develop our reopening plan based on that guidance,” Banks said. “We anticipate our plan will include reopening city hall to the public, but with measures to still maintain social distancing among our employees and the public.” Edgerton City Hall closed on March 24 based on Johnson County’s Stay at Home Order, but essential services have been maintained. “Employees who can work remotely from home are doing so, but certain departments, like utilities and public works, are social distancing in the field,” she said. “We’re also taking appointments for individuals who need to do essential business in-person.”
“The Edgerton team of employees continues to provide our citizens the excellent service they’ve come to expect from us while still adhering to the guidelines for COVID-19,” Banks said. “And we know, together we will get through this challenge.”
Johnson County Task Force
Last week, the Johnson County COVID-19 Recovery Planning Task Force held its first meeting, virtually via Zoom and streamed live on Johnson County’s Facebook page (@jocogov). This meeting took place after the Board of County Commissioners authorized the creation of the task force to plan and strategize how to implement a phased approach to reopen the economy.
The goal of the task force is to develop a Johnson County recovery plan that includes phases for business to reopen and adopt guidelines for the phased reopening of the county’s economy. The task force will make a recommendation on the recovery plan.
The task force meeting included participation by the following members:
Johnson County BOCC Representatives
Chairman Ed Eilert, Vice Chairman Mike Brown, Commissioner Janee Hanzlick Johnson
County Government Staff
Penny Postoak Ferguson, county manager; Dr. Sanmi Areola, director, Public Health and Environment; Dan Robeson, deputy director, Emergency Management and Communications
Scott Anderson, restaurant owner/development attorney
Chamber of Commerce
Tracey Osborne Oltjen, president & CEO, Overland Park Chamber of Commerce
Frank Lenk, director of Research Services, Mid-America Regional Council
Eric Mikkelson, mayor, city of Prairie Village
Beccy Yocham, city manager, city of Lenexa
Julie Brewer, executive director, United Community Services of Johnson County
Stan Holm, president & CEO, Olathe Health
Troy Rettig, police chief, city of Leawood/Johnson County Police Chiefs and Sheriff Association