Ellis County Health Services Director Jason Kennedy on Tuesday lifted all COVID-19 activity restrictions, after Gov. Laura Kelly gave that authority back to each county.
In Ellis County that means people can gather in groups of any size for any activity, or frequent any businesses previously closed by the pandemic.
"It is county by county, so each county can be different," said Interim County Administrator Darin Myers, about the lifting of restrictions.
Some businesses or venues may also choose to maintain restrictions, such as social distancing, masks, limiting the number of patrons, or reduced hours, Myers indicated.
"If a business wants their patrons to wear a mask, that’s completely up to that business," said Myers, who is also Ellis County Fire Chief and Emergency Manager. "Each business is different. Going in and buying a pair of shoes is different than getting a hair cut. Some businesses may still require masks or social distancing."
Likewise, individuals may still choose to take precautions, he said.
"I would ask that the community respect each other’s choices," Myers said. "If someone wants to wear a mask, or someone doesn’t want to wear a mask, that’s their choice."
Gov. Kelly on Tuesday gave the authority back to the individual counties when her executive order mandating restrictions expired Tuesday just after midnight.
Kennedy made the decision Tuesday afternoon, then presented his decision in individual phone calls with the Ellis County Commissioners. Since the commissioners were in agreement, no meeting was needed to discuss or vote on the matter, Myers said.
Sports and other entertainment venues can now be open to the public without social distancing restrictions.
RPM Speedway, for example, resumed car races last weekend, but fans made efforts to social distance, Myers said. That precaution would no longer be necessary.
Any business or entity can be as strict or as relaxed with any of the restrictions as they choose, Myers said.
Also, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment still has travel restrictions in place, allowing the agency to mandate a 14-day quarantine when anyone visits a state that KDHE has named as a virus hotspot.
The Ellis County Health Department will continue testing, notifying the public of any new cases, doing contact tracing when needed, and issuing quarantine orders when necessary, Myers said.
"I think it’s important we respect each other’s own opinions and rights, and realize that people have the right to wear a mask and not go out, or to not wear a mask and go out," he said. "We just need to be mindful of each other’s opinions and beliefs and respect that."