Shawnee Co. adopts latest health order

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 11:25 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee County Commissioners approved a new health order restricting bars and sports.

After a heated debate that lasted almost an hour, Shawnee County commissioners voted 2-1 to adopt a new health order by County Health Officer Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, which reduces group gatherings to 10. This applies to both public and private events. Restaurants will also be required to operate at a 50% capacity if they can hold over 100 people.

The health order also includes two amendments which require the closing of bars and restaurants by 9 p.m. every night and the suspension of all organized sports. However, school sports are exempt from the rule. The Shawnee Co. Counselor’s office said the order is effective immediately, and will last until midnight on Dec. 15.

“The guiding principal is that we want to reduce the opportunity for people to socialize as sad as it may sound that’s really our goal,” Dr. Pezzino said.

“With the virus being everywhere essentially in our community, just the simple fact of bringing people out of their homes in large numbers, the same place represents a risk it doesn’t matter if the place can accommodate them.”

Commissioners Kevin Cook and Aaron Mays said they did not want to implement a full lockdown. They said by having time limits and an end date for the resolution there is still a chance to keep the local economy going.

Commissioner Bill Riphahn was the only dissenting vote. He said he did not like the idea of punishing family members for gatherings like Thanksgiving dinner or hurting the economy.

Pezzino warned not to expect COVID-19 to go away just because new orders are in place.

“They are not going to reverse the tide and the growth that we have experienced just in a period of a few weeks,” he said.

“This might not be the end of it we may need to do something a little harder the more we do now the less likely it will be that we need to something harder.”

Copyright 2020 WIBW. All rights reserved.