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Like any other weekday, the streets and sidewalks of Hays were still busy Tuesday, but already businesses, agencies and offices were closing down.
Students at Fort Hays State University were moving their belongings out of the campus dorms after the university asked students to leave for the remainder of the semester.
USD 489 schools abruptly closed for the week, and through spring break next week.
In Ellis County, there have been two people tested for the virus, and both came back negative, according to Jason Kennedy, Ellis County public health director.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 3 p.m. Tuesday reported there are 16 known cases of the virus in Kansas, with 10 in Johnson County, three in Wyandotte County, and one each in the counties of Butler, Douglas and Franklin.
Ford and Miami counties each have also reported a traveler with the virus.
Many of the announced closings in Ellis County came after Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order Sunday banning all gatherings of more than 50 people for eight weeks.
The Olliff-Boeve Memorial Chapel in Phillipsburg on Tuesday announced that the service for Angie Butterfield, 91, would be streamed live on the funeral home Facebook page to comply with the order.
Some restaurants are now doing only drive through, including Vernie’s Hamburger House, 525 E. 17th, which is offering 50-cent ice cream cones as a consolation.
Taco Shop, 333 W. 8th St., also is offering only drive through, as well as delivery.
Hays VFW Post 9076 on Tuesday had canceled its Friday fish fry events through Lent, its Burger Night until further notice, and the monthly Stag during March and April.
On the VFW’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, the post’s message to the public read: “Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.”
Hays and Ellis County closings and changes include:
• City of Hays Municipal Court suspended all court appearances for all dates before April 6.
• The Ellis County Commission canceled its scheduled Thursday town hall on the sales tax election.
• Hays Public Library, 1205 Main, closed through March 29, but offering free copies in the morning while they last of The Hays Daily News on their doorstep.
• Hays Recreation Center, 1105 Canterbury, closed through March 22, with no youth or adult sports, including practices or games.
• Fort Hays Historic Site, 1472 US Highway 183 Alt, through March 31.
• Sternberg Museum of Natural History, 3000 Sternberg Drive, closed.
• AMC Theater, 861 W. 30th, is closed.
• The 2020 Hays Area Job Fair set for April 16 is canceled.
• The Golden Q, 809 Ash, is limiting the number of patrons to 50.
• Midwest Energy is suspending disconnection of service for nonpayment through May 1 and closed all walk-in customer service offices.
• The Kansas Corporation Commission has suspended all utility disconnects for nonpayment until April 15. This covers all electrical, natural gas, water and telecommunications utilities.
• Hays Community Theatre, 121 E. 8th, postponed its March 27 and 28 performance of “Miss Buchanan’s Deadly Inheritance.”
• Hays Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2700 Vine, and The Downtown Visitor’s Center, 1200 Main, have each closed their offices through March 29.
• There is a halt to all Masses in the churches of the Salina Diocese, which includes the counties of western Kansas.
• The Ellis County Planning & Zoning Meeting for March 25 was canceled and rescheduled for April 22.
• Offices for the City of Hays Public Works Department are open, but staff encourage residents to handle business online or by phone and email. Anyone coming into the office should call first to see if the issue can be handled otherwise. Call 785-628-7350 or go to www.haysusa.com.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is now recommending 14-day home quarantine for Kansans who have:
• Traveled to a state with known widespread community transmission (currently California, New York and Washington state) on or after March 15.
• Visited Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties in Colorado within the past week.
• Traveled on a cruise ship on or after March 15.
• Traveled internationally on or after March 15.