After more than an hour of listening to citizen comments and sharing their own opinions, the Saline County Commissioners this afternoon made two changes to a Saline County Public Health Order that goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
County Health Officer Jason Tiller issued the order "to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Saline County."
The entire health order can be seen below, however, here are the highlights:
No group of more than 15 individuals shall gather within any indoor space within Saline County, with the following exceptions.
●Due to the transitory nature of their business, a retail establishment may have more than 15 individuals present within a single indoor space. However, such establishments shall endeavor to provide adequate social distancing and to enforce the provisions of local ordinances or resolutions relating to the wearing of face coverings.
●A bar, restaurant or congregate eating space may have more than 15 individuals present within a single indoor space, provided that no party in excess of eight individuals may be seated at a common table and that all seated parties must be placed at least six feet apart from other seated parties (between tables and/or booths), or when that is not feasible a barrier such as Plexiglas or other partition shall divide booths or tables closer than six feet. Such establishments may not be open to the public before 5:00 a.m. or after 12:00 midnight.
●A commercial gym or fitness center may have more than 15 individuals present within a single indoor space, provided that they shall be limited to not more than 50 percent of the capacity permitted under the applicable fire code. Such establishments must frequently clean common touchpoints, including but not limited to benches, seating and lockers.
●Personal service and medical facilities such as nail salons, barber/beauty shops, dentist’s and doctor’s offices shall attempt to limit the number of persons in any common waiting room to fewer than 15 individuals at any given time. Such establishments should prohibit walk-ins and see clients only via appointment.
●An auditorium, exhibit hall, event space or theater may have more than 15 individuals present within a single indoor space, provided that they shall be limited to not more than 25 percent of the capacity permitted under the applicable fire code and shall require all individuals present to wear a face covering.
●The following establishments may have more than 15 individuals present within a single indoor space, but shall attempt to provide social distancing and encourage use of face coverings:
a. Religious institutions;
c. Election polling places;
d. Licensed childcare facilities;
e. Schools and activities within the purview of a school’s governing body;
f. Court facilities; and
g. Funeral homes.
Additionally, individuals gathering in outdoor facilities -- parks, stadiums, or open-air venues -- need to "maintain social distancing to the maximum extent possible and any individuals who are not actively participating in a sporting activity shall wear a face covering."
The two changes made by the four commissioners were to change the closing time for bars from 11 a.m. to midnight and to add funeral homes to the list of indoor exemptions.
As the meeting began, Commissioner Monte Shadwick recused himself, to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, "specifically because of any discussions on the health mandate as it pertains to limitations on restaurants and bars."
"My hope was to be part of this conversation as it has a huge impact on the health and safety of our citizens, but I do not want any of my questions of staff or conversations with my fellow commissioners to seem that I am promoting or protecting my business or trade," Shadwick said. "This will be my first recusal in 14 years of being on the city and county commissions. I know I was elected to make tough decisions and I haven't shied away from any in the past, but I'm confident the four of you, with citizen input will make the proper decision."
Following is a copy of the health order as provided to Salina Post by County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes.
You also can find a copy of the health order on the county's Coronavirus webpage.