Emergency Public Health Order FAQ

Where can I find a copy of the Emergency Public Health Order?

The Emergency Public Health Order can be found here. 

When does the Order go into effect and when does it expire?

Esta orden estará vigente desde el 10 de enero del 2021 a las 12:01 a.m. hasta el 6 de febrero del 2021 a las 11:59 p.m. 

What social distancing requirements and limitations exist for public gatherings?

Mass gatherings are limited to 25 total individuals. People must still be masked and maintain 6 feet of social distancing.

Can a venue that holds more than 2,000 remain open and hold events?

Large entertainment venues may not host events in excess of the mass gathering limits unless the Local Health Officer, Dr. Garold Minns, approves a written plan from the venue. Written plans must be submitted to Minns with proper advance notice for him to review.

 Are religious institutions exempt from the public gatherings limitations?

Yes. Rather than being required to comply with public gatherings limitations, religious institutions are encouraged to maintain social distancing as much as is feasible.

Do I have to wear a mask in a religious institution?

Yes, subject to the exemptions included in the order.

Do I have to wear a mask when speaking to an audience?

Certain exemptions apply to individuals who are actively speaking to an audience at a religious institution, wedding, funeral, or an open public meeting, do not have to wear a mask as long as there is at least six feet of social distancing or separation by a physical barrier. Masks are still encouraged however. 

Can I convene or attend a protest on public property?

Yes. Public protests would be exempt from the mass gatherings provisions if they would occur outdoors on property owned by a governmental entity or else dedicated for public purposes (e.g., sidewalks).

Can I still hold a wedding/funeral/graduation/birthday party? Do I have to wear a mask at these events?

Yes. Venues must also limit their total capacity to 100 people or 50 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is less and allow for 6 feet of social distancing. If the wedding or funeral is a religious activity, it would be exempt from the public gatherings limitations in the order, but individuals would still be encouraged to maintain social distancing as much as is feasible. Yes, people would be expected to wear masks subject to the exemptions included in the order.

Can nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, and similar personal services remain open?

Yes. Appointments should be pre-scheduled.

Can fitness centers and health clubs remain open?

Yes, fitness centers are limited to 100 individuals or 50 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is less, and must adhere to appropriate masking and social distancing precautions. Common touch points (i.e. benches, seating, lockers) must be frequently cleaned.

Are fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades, and other similar events allowed?

No. Fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades, and other similar events are not allowed.

Are bars and nightclubs open to the public?

Yes. Bars, night clubs, and any other businesses licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption must abide by a curfew and close by 11 p.m. They may open at 5 a.m. unless state or local law requires them to open later.

They must also limit their total capacity to 100 people or 50 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is less. Tables may not have more than eight people seated together. All tables must be spaced at least six feet apart in all directions.

Are restaurants open to the public?

Yes. Restaurants licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption must abide by a curfew and close by 11 p.m. All restaurants must close in-person dining areas by 11 p.m. but may continue curbside, carry-out, drive-through, and delivery services. They may reopen for in-person dining at 5 a.m.

They must also limit their total capacity to 100 people or 50 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is less. Tables may not have more than eight people seated together. All tables must be spaced at least six feet apart in all directions.

Can country clubs and private restaurants remain open to the public?

Yes. Country clubs and private restaurants licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption must abide by a curfew and close by 11 p.m. All restaurants must close in-person dining areas by 11 p.m. but may continue curbside, carry-out, drive-through, and delivery services. They may reopen for in-person dining at 5 a.m.

They must also limit their total capacity to 100 people or 50 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is less. Tables may not have more than eight people seated together. All tables must be spaced at least six feet apart in all directions.

Can I attend my child/children’s sporting event?

Yes. For indoor single-court or single-playing area rooms and outdoor facilities there can be a maximum of two attendees per participant. All persons must exit the area once the event is over.

For indoor multi-court or multi-playing area rooms, participants are allowed a maximum of two attendees. These facilities must limit the total courts or playing space to one-half or less of the courts or playing areas (utilizing every other court where feasible). All persons must exit the area once the event is over.

This doesn’t apply to collegiate sports and sporting events governed by the KSHSAA/school boards.

 Can I wear a face mask with a vent or a valve?

No. Masks or other face coverings that have valves or vents that allow air to be exhaled do not fit with the definition of “mask or other face covering” under this order. Face shields are still allowed under the order.

Are children who are five years of age or younger exempt from wearing a mask or face covering?

Yes, they are exempt pursuant to the terms of the order. However, schools and other organizations may establish their own rules regarding the wearing of masks or face coverings within their facilities that may be more restrictive than the order.

Are children who are in kindergarten exempt from wearing a mask or face covering?

This is up to the discretion of the school.

Are swimming pools open to the public?

Yes, swimming pools are allowed to be open.

Are malls open to the public?

Yes. Businesses are required to ensure that their patrons comply with the order.

Are bowling alleys open to the public?

Yes. Businesses are required to ensure that their patrons comply with the order. Guests should maintain at least 6 feet of distance between groups of customers.

Are bingo halls open to the public?

Yes. Businesses are required to ensure that their patrons comply with the order. Guests should maintain at least 6 feet of distance between groups of customers.

Are parks, playgrounds or the Sedgwick County Zoo subject to the Emergency Public Health Order?

While social distancing in such areas encouraged, and individually defined areas and buildings are affected by the gathering limitations in this order, in general parks, playgrounds and the Sedgwick County Zoo are not subject to the 25 person gathering limitation.

How do I report a business or person who is not following the Order?

Residents who have concerns about compliance are asked to submit a report via the online portal at www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/violations. Please do not call the 911 emergency system.

What are the consequences for not following the Order?

On and after November 18, 2020, within the unincorporated area of Sedgwick County and any cities that have consented to this Order applying within their city limits, violations of this order can be prosecuted pursuant to a resolution the Board of County Commissioners approved on November 10, 2020.  The maximum fine for any single violation would be a $500 fine and $20 court costs.

Businesses, other organizations, and individuals may forfeit immunity from COVID-19 claims they might otherwise be entitled to under Kansas law if they fail to substantially comply with the order.  This could also impact the insurance coverage for any such claims.  Businesses and other organizations are encouraged to consult with their own legal counsel for potential ramifications of noncompliance.

Does my business have to comply with this Order?

Yes. This order applies to individuals and businesses alike. Businesses are required to ensure that their patrons comply with the order. Some reasonable efforts for making sure residents comply with the order and wear masks are: signage, offering masks, having greeters, intercom messages, and directly addressing unmasked employees or customers.