Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly outlines her plans for reopening the state in a Thursday evening speech.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly officially unveiled her administration’s multi-phase plan for reopening the state during a press conference Thursday evening.

Before discussing the details of the initiative — dubbed “Ad Astra” — Kelly took time to address what the plan was not.

“The framework is not etched in stone,” Kelly said. “Its fundamental purpose is to provide as much predictability as we can for both families and businesses. Kansans must consider it a living document subject to ongoing analysis and evaluation … The framework is also not a suggestion that local communities roll back safety measures automatically simply because it’s technically permissible to do so. The state is making a concerted effort to return local control and flexibility to this process, but the state framework should be considered the floor for safeguards, not the ceiling.”

Stressing the need for local health departments to evaluate their situations on a case-by-case basis, Kelly said she expected “Phase I” of the recovery plan to kick into action Monday, May 4 with the lifting of the statewide stay-at-home order.

“Mass gatherings will remain limited to 10 or fewer people and there will be some limitations on specific types of establishments…” Kelly said. “But, by and large, if localities determine that the time is right, businesses that can maintain at least six feet of distance between consumers and adhere to industry-specific guidelines can begin to transition back to work.”

Phase 1

The establishments and activities not opened under Phase I are as follows: bars and nightclubs excluding curbside and carry-out services; non-tribal casinos and other indoor leisure spaces such as fitness centers and gyms; nail salons; tanning salons; tattoo parlors; community centers; outdoor and indoor entertainment venues with capacities of 2,000 or more; festivals; carnivals; parades; graduation ceremonies; public pools; organized sporting events and tournaments; and summer camps.

Phase 2

Barring additional developments or delays, Kelly said Phase II would begin rollout as soon as May 18. The phase includes an increased gathering limit of 30 individuals as well as an all-clear for certain establishments to reopen their doors if viable.

“Places like fitness centers and barbershops will be allowed to reopen as long as they comply with other baseline limitations …” Kelly said. “Bars and nightclubs will be allowed to open at 50 percent total occupancy and can continue otherwise to operate their curbside and carry-out services.”

Phase 3

Phase III, set tentatively for June 1, increases the mass gathering limit to 90 individuals and will reopen the majority of day-to-day businesses and establishments with the goal of phasing out the vast majority of state restrictions by June 15.

“All business, activity and venue prohibitions will be lifted as long as they comply with baseline limitations outlined at the start of the process,” Kelly said.

While public perception of the plan is sure to evolve over the next few weeks, the initial reaction to Kelly’s speech on The Gazette’s social media was generally positive.

“Good plan,” posted Rebecca Caruthers to Facebook. “We need to be cautious yet learn to safely move forward. I wish they would commit to 100% testing in meat packing might help the workers return safely.”

“I think Kelly did a pretty good job,” wrote Loretta Ann. “It was a concise explanation with encouragement, and a good ending call to be a proud Kansan.”

“Thanks for taking care of Kansas,” added Linda Bainum in a comment addressed to Kelly.

Still, others expressed concern and uncertainty about the viability of the plan’s timeline, especially for those currently out of work or those seeing a dramatic reduction in business.

“Bar owners still can’t pay the bills,” read a post from Joey Sprinkle.

“What a joke,” added Aaron Atchison. “Just might as well open everything back up if your [sic] allowing no max occupancy in restaurants and 6 ft space and 10 per table. You know how hard that is going to be for restaurants and owners to police?”

Reaction among local legislators — who viewed the rollout of the plan as necessary, but a bit vague on details — was also mixed.

“I knew it obviously was not going to be perfect by any means, but I compared it with the guidance from the White House and the CDC that they released a couple weeks ago called ‘Opening Up America’ and it seemed like, to me, that the governor’s plan followed it for the most part,” said District 60 Representative Mark Schreiber. “It followed the same basic framework, and I think it was a good document to work off of ... I know people would love to open everything back up even as soon as today, but what I’m most afraid of is opening up too quickly and then having a round of increased infections that leads to another shutdown. That would complicate things tremendously, especially for businesses and schools.”

Senator Jeff Longbine agreed with Schreiber that the initial plan was a good starting point, but expressed concern about the possibility of increased confusion and the continued lack of viable testing supplies and locations within Kansas.

“On the surface, it’s easy to criticize the governor, but I think she’s doing what she feels is best,” Longbine said. “There are some components that I’m not sure will be quite as workable in practice as they are on paper. For instance, restaurants putting up plexiglass between booths and having them be at 50 percent occupancy. It makes me wonder what kind of expenditure that would have to be, and if it would even be profitable for those types of businesses to reopen if they can only be half full. Some of those aspects of the plan are still troubling to me.

“Another big concern of mine is that we continually hear from Gov. Kelly and from our local agencies that we need widespread testing. We don’t have that availability. I would very much like to get to the bottom of that, but it seems like I’m chasing my tail. I was contacted late last week by a Kansas-based company which has only 720 employees, but they have the capability of doing 30,000 tests a week. For some reason, we’re not using them and I don’t know why … You also get those situations where people have been trying to get tested for weeks now, but they’re being told they can’t be tested because they don’t have symptoms.

“So, we’re basically just testing people we already know are sick, which I guess makes sense. But, we’re not testing people who are being sent home with no symptoms. We really need to know when those people can start returning to work. So, is this due to a shortage of testing, or is it the unwillingness of the government both on the state and county level to pay for testing?”

For the most part, Kelly agreed these issues would be at the forefront of her mind during the process, but was also careful to stress the phases wouldn’t be rushed.

“We anxiously await an opportunity to learn how seasonality will impact this virus,” Kelly said. “To put it another way, even if Kansans do everything perfectly for the next couple of months, outbreaks are almost inevitable until a vaccine is developed, manufactured and made widely available. Tonight’s framework is a starting point to this long, slow transition back to some semblance of the lives we remember from just a few short months ago.”

A full outline of the Ad Astra reopening plan can be accessed at

(11) comments


Response to Aaron Atchison's comment. My son-in- law has a restaurant in Iowa and is not policing. People can only dine in with reservation and still doing takeout and delivery


Instead of shutting down most of the state, shut down this sneering governor's office, then see how fast Loonie Laura would open the state back up.

Shut down the educational bureaucracy, let them go without pay for a day. See how fast they would scream and holler. Who needs them? They are already forcing parents to take 100% responsibility anyway, which is good only in that children may get a little relief from the daily Left-wing indoctrination they are normally immersed in at screwls .

Why are Federal, State, County and local bureaucrats all continuing to receive full paychecks when everyone else has to continue to pay taxes to support them, and to take their chances in a Great Depression-style floundering economy?


"Ad Asrtra"? LOL! Who the hell uses this sort of elitist condescending language? Why didn't she just call; it "Let them Eat Cake" program?

Senator Jeff Shortbrains agreed with her plan. Sort of. He sort of disagreed with it, too.


Speaking of the casinos on the Indian territory, that is an independent country, is it not?

Kolonel Kelly can not issue Kommands to alter their lifestyle, can she?


In Soviet Union, you go to gulag.

In Kansas gulag come to you.


We need to hurry up and get the bars and casinos open.


Get the casino's open? I dunno, man. I mean,. right now, I am really flush. I haven't had so much money since the man with the pointy ears was occupying the White House. And I have finished my book. Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! I mean, ask any Kansas farmer, it IS possible to make fertilizer from crap!


So what if a Vaccine is not created? do We just hide away forever? Some semblance? Wow What a inspiring Governor , we can aspire to be somewhat normal, Even in our dreams an stated goals we still only come to "somewhat" Shoot for 10 an you'll get a 7 so Shooting for a 4 what'll you get?


If they can't chip everyone, they plan to continue to limit our freedoms, that is the bottom line that they are after. Have you noticed that the Democratic Governors are the ones resisting a return to "normal"? The reason is that they have made this political to force an agenda and cheat their way to a victory with McFeelThemUp (and worse, have you seen what he does to little girls on camera?) Biden. I watched UnConstitutional Kelly live, and she was a real sour puss. You could tell that she was feeling pressure to do this. I was just watching the protest in MI where I grew up, and they showed a true passion for our freedoms, the ones fought for and died for. American Patriots (interesting group - google it)! UnConstitutional Kelly is milking this for all it is worth. That going on CNN to complain about Trump not getting her supplies she did not need (Roger Marshall MD had in checked and listed all the supplies received,) so she is not above lying to promote the liberal agenda.) Also, be aware this "contact tracers" being brought out by this "virus" are another way to violate our freedom, and track groups of people that may oppose martial law. I am sure many are not telling who they were in contact with, and for many reasons and good reasons. The current estimated mortality rate looks like about 1/10 of a percent, not the 1 to 2% of the ones sickest who go for medical intervention, yet they continue to "milk" it. Did anyone else notice that Kelly did not mention churches at all, but liquor and gambling were top priority? Also, this will allow local jurisdictions to have stricter orders, and I encourage everyone that doesn't agree if we have stricter orders to call the county and ask for justification, email the Kansas Attorney General and definitely consider making a complaint to the Dept. of Justice (email form very easy to fill out). Don't just roll over on your backs and take it!


I totally agree with you.. We need to all go back to work and put a stop to all of this fear mongering. I'm ready to go back to the way it was tomorrow... no more masks... no more ridiculous infringements on our civil liberties and our freedoms. This is a virus... We deal with viruses all the time. Thank God it didn't turn out to be as bad as the Fake News and the Left wanted you to believe it was going to be! Most people who get it don't even know they have it, or they have a slight discomfort for a few days and then they are fine. For the few who have pre existing conditions that are stirred up by this particular virus, there are treatments that are working. If the people who have weak immune systems want to stay home and self-quarantine then we should provide a way for those few to do so, and help them to feel safe. The rest of us need to GET BACK TO WORK! Enough of this government hand out stuff. We need to go back to work, get off of welfare, get off of government hand outs and become working contributing members of society again. The damage done by fear mongering Democrats and Fake News Fanatics has been much worse than the actual virus. They somehow justify their actions as being unwilling to let a good crisis go to waste! So, in search of the almighty dollar and trying their hardest to use this "pandemic" to bring Trump down and further their own radical socialist agenda they continue to try and destroy our country. This Kansas Governor is a pawn of satan and needs to be removed along with the other Democrat leadership in the Congresses throughout our country... WAKE UP AMERICA! VOTE RED! We need term limits. We need a national voter ID. We need to cut back on wasteful spending and stimulus money going to Sweetheart backers of the Democrat party who line their pockets with contributions and favors. Trump brought us out of the mess we were in before and he can do it again.. .ESPECIALLY if we give him a Republican House and Senate to work with. We can drain the swamp, tear down the Deep State, and build our nation back up to the place of freedom, Godly principles, economic stability, opportunities for all to achieve the American Dream.

We can come back from this and walk into our finest hour. It is NOT too late. We must not walk in fear, but instead, go forward with perseverance, tenacity, creativity, and boldness. If we turn to God with our whole heart and seek Him for the answers, He will heal from heaven and He will heal our land. He has already given us so many answers... such as Hydroxychloroquine & Zinc! It's time to raise up and take possession of our land again. Hopefully, we have learned an important lesson from this for the future... If you are going to quarantine anyone... quarantine the week and those in the most danger and keep the rest of the population working at full capacity.


Just read an opinion article in NY Times which I do not normally read, or quote about the vaccine stating that the vaccine under normal research and development, and testing may not be ready until 2036. Yes I know it is just an opinion piece, but should be read, and considered.

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