When will KC’s stay-at-home order end?
While President Donald Trump would love to have the country “opened up” by Easter, as would we all, it remains that you can’t set a schedule for a virus like COVID-19, much less a pandemic.
So, what exactly has to happen to lift Kansas City’s stay-at-home order?
“I think that’s unclear,” says Eric Kratty, founding partner of Overland Park tax and investment firm World Class Unlimited. “I don’t expect an all-clear kind of a notice. I assume we’ll be easing back into it.” Other businesses The Star contacted were just as unsure, though supportive of the measure.
Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that local health officials have yet to agree on the criteria that would ease or eliminate the stay-at-home order. In fact, Kansas City Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer said the answer to when the order might be lifted “may change tomorrow based on our evolving knowledge of this new virus.”
Johnson County Public Health Officer Joseph LeMaster suggests that “the use of critical care beds and capacity overall in the region will be the best way to tell where we are.” But he said discussions are still going on as to whether existing data systems could even compile such information or if a new data system might be necessary.
Another possible barometer of how we’re doing would be, obviously enough, total confirmed coronavirus cases. But that’s not a reliable data point, due to limited testing and the fact that many people are asymptomatic.
One other huge variable is us: The more that area residents abide by the stay-at-home order — with exceptions for medicine, food and other true necessities — the fewer the infections and the shorter the order.
On that point, Archer is happily optimistic, thanks to street-level observations and feedback from the community. “We basically had no slow-down traffic during normal rush hour,” he said Tuesday, the first day of the more restrictive order. “Traffic seems even less, so far, today.
Culture change requires time, Archer noted, but he takes heart from voluntary compliance and the power of peer pressure in such things as enforcement of non-smoking laws.
Of all the factors that may lift the stayat-home order by anything close to Easter, the only one we have control over is our own behavior. Self-isolating is going to be the key.
Concern about the economy is understandable and warranted. But health is everything. Take it from a money man.
“Money is important to make the world go ‘round, and I get that,” Kratty says, noting he’s closed his shop down for the time being. “But there’s nothing here that’s more important than my staff’s or my clients’ health.” And if we get out and mix it up too soon, it might only lengthen our stay at home.
“We don’t want to see a big resurgence of cases, which is a possibility if the stayat-home order is lifted too soon,” LeMaster rightly says.