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?
This Order begins at 12:01 A.M. on Thursday, October 22, 2020, and remains in effect until at least midnight, Wednesday, December 9, 2020.
What social distancing requirements and limitations exist for public gatherings?
Individuals should generally maintain 6 feet of distance from one another. However, where individuals are in one place and unable to maintain social distancing, individuals may gather in closer proximity in groups of not more than 15 people. Individuals should wear a mask within public gatherings.
This does not limit an event to a cap of 15 people. Instead, groups of 15 or less individuals must be located at least 6 feet in all directions from other groups of 15 or less individuals. In essence, each group would have a “bubble” of 6 feet in all directions between their group and another group.
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 form 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.
How do I report a business or person who is not following the Order?
- Residents who have concerns about compliance are encouraged to call their city officials or any designated non-emergency line. Please do not call the 911 emergency system.
- If the noncompliance is outside the City of Wichita, persons can call the following non-emergency numbers:
o Bel-Aire Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 744-6000
o Cheney Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 542-3173
o Clearwater Police Department Non-Emergency (620) 584-2349
o Derby Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 788-1557
o Goddard Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 794-2051
o Haysville Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 529-5912
o Maize Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 722-1433
o Mulvane Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 777-4262
o Park City Police Department Non-Emergency (316) 744-2011
o Valley Center Non-Emergency Public Safety Line (316) 755-7325
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.
Can I still hold a wedding/funeral/graduation/birthday party? Do I have to wear a mask at these events?
Yes, subject to the public gatherings limitations in the order. If the wedding or funeral is a religious activity, it would be exempt from the public gatherings limitations in the order.
What types of sport or athletic activities are allowed? Do participants need to wear a mask?
All sports and athletic activities are allowed. Whether athletics participants need to wear a mask depends upon the activity. If athletes can maintain a 6-foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity, they would not be required to wear a mask. If athletes would generally not be able to maintain a 6-foot distance from others, they would be required to wear a mask.
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 1 a.m. These businesses may remain open past midnight solely for curbside and carryout services. They must also limit their total capacity to not more than 50 percent of the capacity permitted under the applicable fire code.
Do restaurants have to close to the public?
No. Restaurants licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption must close at 1 a.m. and limit their total capacity to not more than 50 percent of their capacity permitted under the applicable fire code. These businesses may remain open for curbside and carryout services. The operating hours and capacity for restaurants that do not serve alcohol are unaffected by this order.
Do swimming pools have to close to the public?
No, swimming pools are allowed to be open.
Are fairs, festivals, and parades allowed?
Does the mall have to close to the public?
No. Businesses are required to ensure that their patrons comply with the order.
Do gyms have to close to the public?
No. Guests should maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others. Also, locker rooms must be closed, except to functions as restrooms.
Do bowling alleys have to close to the public?
No. Guests should maintain at least 6 feet of distance between groups of customers.
Can a venue that holds more than 2,000 remain open and hold events?
Outdoor and indoor entertainment venues shall be permitted to operate as long as they comply with mass gatherings requirements (15 or less individuals with the possibility of multiple mass gatherings within a single venue as long as such groups of individuals maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from one another) and the total number of attendees for the venue does not exceed 2,000 people.
Venues may submit a request for an event exemption based on a plan that would require approval by the Sedgwick County Local Health Officer, Dr. Minns.
What are the consequences for not following the Order?
There would not be any jail, criminal charges, fines, or civil penalties as a result of violating the order, as such penalties are not permissible under Kansas law for this type of order. However, any cities which may have adopted ordinances under their Kansas Constitution home rule powers that are similar in scope to this order may seek to enforce such ordinances. Any such enforcement efforts by cities are unaffected by this order.
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.