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LDCPH to offer new health order to county commissioners



LAWRENCE, Kan. – Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health will present a new proposed local health order to county commissioners on Wednesday evening.

Lawrence-Douglas Public Health says local health officers have recommended that the Douglas County Commission approve an updated public health order for the county that keeps a mask mandate and social distancing requirements in businesses and public venues.

According to LDCPH, the proposed order removes Douglas Co.’s mass gathering limit of 50 but keeps a 50% capacity restriction on indoor businesses and most public venues. It said it does allow businesses and venues to opt-out of the restrictions with written notice and posted signage at the entrance.

“As Douglas County has done well overall during the pandemic, our public health strategy going forward continues to rely on the efficacy of mask-wearing and social distancing. We continue to ask our community members to do their part to keep the disease spread manageable and to protect those most vulnerable,” Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Director Dan Partridge said. “As we have seen in recent weeks, even with a strong vaccination effort to date locally, it is important to utilize community mitigation strategies to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in light of seeing continued new cases and new variants, which may be more transmissible.”

LDCPH said Local Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino and Deputy Local Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, an infectious disease specialist at LMG, will present the proposed order to Douglas Co. Commissioners as part of their business meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday via Zoom. IT said Senate Bill 40 was recently signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly requires county commission approval of proposed health orders that will limit gatherings and require face masks.

If approved by a majority of the City Council, LDCPH, said the updated order would take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 15, and will still include the following:

  • An indoor capacity limit of 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy of the facility where the gathering occurs. This applies to entertainment venues, recreational facilities, restaurants, bars and other businesses that serve food or drink indoors.
  • Venues can opt out of the occupancy limitation if they provide written notice to LDCPH and post a sign at the front of its entrance.
  • The social distancing requirements must be followed at all times both inside the venue and outside, including in line to enter an indoor public space.
  • A requirement for all residents older than 5 years old to wear masks in all indoor public spaces, except when eating, drinking, swimming, or if they have a medical condition that prevents it and outdoor public spaces where they are not able to maintain 6 feet of social distancing.

“As we continue to loosen the restrictions on gathering limits, we still ask the public to remain vigilant when it comes to mask-wearing, social distancing and washing hands frequently,” said Dr. Thomas Marcellino, local public health officer. “It is critical we not let our guards down.”