Gov. Kelly issues statewide stay-at-home order for Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) Kansas has joined several other states in issuing a statewide stay-at-home order. Governor Laura Kelly made the announcement Saturday morning in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus.

Governor Laura Kelly announces a Stay at Home Order for Kansas to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"I am announcing the difficult, but unavoidable decision to add Kansas to the list of 22 other states that have issued a temporary Stay Home Order," said Kelly.

She said this decision was not taken lightly.

"I know this is hard and I can't tell you how much I wish it wasn't necessary," Kelly said.

With several counties in Kansas already under their own stay at home orders, she felt it was needed.

Kelly said, "The reality is, a patchwork approach is a recipe for confusion in our statewide fight to slow the spread of coronavirus."

State health officials predict the number of positive cases could reach up to 900 over the next week.

"This is our window to ensure Kansas does not suffer the terrible fate of other hard hit states like New York and Missouri," said Kelly.

The statewide stay-at-home order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 30th.

Governor Kelly explained its impacts Saturday.

"Kansans must remain at home," she said, "Unless you're going to work to perform an essential function, you're obtaining food, medicine or other household necessities, you're seeking medical care, you're caring for children, pets, family members or a vulnerable person in another location, or if you're exercising outside while also abiding by the ten person limit and appropriate social distancing guidelines."

The order will not be enforced by martial law, but Kelly stresses the importance of taking it seriously.

"Your job as a Kansan that loves your family, your neighbors, your state and your country is to take our instructions seriously," she said, "I know that this has been hard. I know that there are more tough days ahead, but we're all in this together and we're going to come out of it together."

The statewide order will last through at least April 19th. Kelly said any local stay-at-home orders that exist past that date will continue once the statewide order is rescinded.

Kansas Representatives, Rep. Dan Hawkins, Rep. Ron Ryckman, and Rep. Blaine Finch have responded to the order with a joint statement.

They said, "The order announced by the Governor will no doubt impact our families and our businesses. As members of the Legislative Coordinating Council we have a duty to carefully assess this executive order and the reasons for it."