GIRARD — Though it remains unclear whether the statewide stay-at-home order will expire by the end of next week, Crawford County officials continue to make plans for what kind of policy the county will implement if it does.
Since announcing it would hear input from area businesses and the public on that decision earlier in the week, the county commission on Friday made changes to the schedule of when that input session will take place, and said it will be done via radio on Pittsburg State University-affiliated KRPS (89.9 FM) next Thursday, with the opportunity for businesses to submit questions beforehand.
“We had talked about next Wednesday doing some sort of a call with the businesses in the county but it’s been pushed to Thursday, which will give us a little more time if the governor puts something out,” County Health Officer Rebecca Adamson said Friday. “We still don’t know how long that might take.”
Following a work session next Tuesday, which has now been moved to 8 a.m., to come up with a draft policy, information about the proposed policy will be sent out either as bullet points or a similar format that area chambers of commerce can then send to businesses, which can then submit questions prior to the radio discussion, Adamson said.
“That way on Thursday on the radio we’ll have some sort of a platform for question-answer,” Adamson said. “They’ll be able to send questions in to maybe email or text I think, something like that, to the radio to ask live as well.”
Asked by Commissioner Tom Moody who would be able to ask questions Thursday, Adamson said anyone could submit questions.
“That’s another good thing about the radio is that it will be open to everyone,” Adamson said.
Commissioner Bruce Blair said he hoped that, “in some capacity,” all businesses would soon be able to reopen.
“The plan is to try to get everyone open, but we’re really just looking at what does that look like,” he said.
“That’s where the public comment will come in, because I don’t own a hair salon so I don’t know how I could change it to make it fit the model, and I’m sure they’ve already got it figured out,” Blair said.
Blair also said that at Tuesday’s work session to come up with a draft policy “I guess we’ll accommodate whoever decides to show up for that,” although County Clerk Don Pyle noted that to comply with the stay-at-home order, no more than 10 people can be in the room at a time at county commission meetings.
Adamson said in some other counties, including some nearby, there are no plans to continue any kinds of restrictions on businesses after Gov. Laura Kelly’s stay-at-home order expires, meaning all businesses could hypothetically go back to business as usual.
A major question that remains to be answered, however, is when and if the order will expire. On Thursday, Kelly reportedly said she might want to extend the order, but it is also unclear whether the state legislature will allow her emergency powers to expire on May 1 — even before the May 3 date set for her current order’s expiration.
“This all hinges on if the stay-at-home order doesn’t get extended,” Adamson said.
If the governor’s emergency powers are allowed to expire, however, “depending on that, we may have to be ready to implement ours on the 1st,” Adamson said. “So if the legislature’s not going to come back til the 6th, it’s really just up in the air on if things can get extended or not without the emergency declaration being extended by the legislators, so it’s just kind of all up in the air right now.”