Pratt businesses open according to state plan

Gale Rose

Access to the Pratt County Court House remains limited as the doors are still locked to the general public and all business is done by appointment only. Pratt County commissioners held a joint special meeting May 1 with city officials to assimilate Governor Laura Kelly’s plans to reopen the state.

Following Kelly’s Phase 1 guidelines, Pratt area playgrounds remain closed for the time being.

At the courthouse, people needing to renew or get driver’s licenses should contact Treasurer Amy Jones to make an appointment.

Gov. Kelly said as of Monday, May 4, the statewide stay at home order has been lifted but still in place are limits placed on mass gatherings to 10 or fewer. The establishments not included in the first phase of reopening are bars, night clubs excluding curbside and carryout services, non-tribal casinos, theaters, museums and other outdoor leisure spaces, fitness centers and gyms, nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and other personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided.

Activities and venues remaining “on pause” status include community centers, outdoor and indoor entertainment with capacity of 2,000 or more, fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades and graduations, swimming pools (other than backyard pools), organized sports, sporting facilities and tournaments, summer camps.

Kansans are encouraged to seek or reschedule non-emergent non-COVID related medical care.

Phase 2 of the Kelly plan is scheduled to start May 18.

Dr. Gene Cannata, Pratt County Health Officer Gene Cannata said he was very happy with the governor’s plan. Darci Van Der Vyver, county Public Health Director, said in a joint statement among the city, county and Pratt Regional Medical Center that they fully endorsed the governor’s plan.

As for playgrounds remaining closed, County Counselor Tyson Eisenhauer said it would very hard to maintain social distance at a playground.

City Manager Bruce Pinkall agreed and said the city needs to keep the tape around playgrounds.

Van Der Vyver said the skating rink would also remain closed and she strongly discouraged self serve food and beverages in places like Quick Shop, Pizza Hut and the Servateria to also not have a buffet.

Currently, there are no travel restrictions. It would require dedicated officers to stop traffic so enforcing no-travel restrictions would be very difficult to enforce, Eisenhauer said.

Sheriff Jimmy White said his office couldn’t do it even with state help.

Nichole Morgan of Pratt Family Dental said their office was ready to reopen and they would follow follow dental association guidelines.

The Pratt County Recycle Center reopened with regular house on Tuesday, May 5, but special guidelines are in place.

“All people need to remain in their vehicles when dropping off recycleables and we will unload them from trunks, truck beds and the back of SUVs,”?said Jason Winkle, Recycle Center Director. “We need to minimize contact as much as possible.”

He asked that all containers and items be rinsed that could be rinsed, to save his employees from touching potential contaminents.

The Pratt County Landfill remains open, with regular summer hours open going into effect. The landfill is now open Monday-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Constant progress monitoring will remain in place and if the health data continues to trend in the right direction, Phase Two is set to take effect on May 18 but no sooner and will include: Mass gatherings up to 30, places like fitness centers and barber shops will be allowed to open if they can comply with other baseline limitations that are posted on

Non-tribal casinos will be allowed to open only if they can comply with Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidelines, bars and night clubs can open at 50 percent total capacity and can continue curbside and carryout service.

Activities and venues still prohibited include outdoor and indoor entertainment venues with a capacity of 2,000 or more, fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades and graduations, public and private summer camps.

These new guidelines will be continuously evaluated for at least 14 days before any decision is made on moving ahead to Phase Three.

Van Der Vyver said Pratt County was probably going to have more cases. Her office will continue to do contact tracing to help keep the community as safe as they can. There is currently still only 1 positive case of COVID-19 recorded in Pratt County and that case is recovered. Kiowa County now had 2 recorded positive cases, and to the west Ford County leads the state with more than 850 positive cases of the coronavirus disease.