Discussions have been taking place during the last several weeks among Chamber Board members and government officials at the county, state and federal level about how to facilitate the next step in recovery from the pandemic crisis. Prioritizing public health as the number one consideration, business leaders and elected officials are discussing ideas and formulating tentative plans about how to operate if and when state restrictions have been eased for both stay at home orders and business/social gatherings. Earlier this week 2020 Chamber Chair Junetta Everett shared that, "Obviously, we need to find a solution that is smart and safe but it MUST address the critical challenges businesses are facing during this time."
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly invited twenty area business leaders to participate in a conference call today about this topic. The Governor and members of her staff spent thirty minutes with the group of Wichita leaders, led by our Chamber Chair, Junetta Everett. Governor Kelly stated that her primary goal for the discussion was to solicit input about what should be included in the state’s reopening guidelines that are being drafted. The state’s intention is to produce a basic set of guidelines for counties and businesses to work from and then customize for their particular situation if public health issues require stricter measures.
In addition to requesting their input, Governor Kelly answered questions posed by participants about how soon more COVID-19 testing would be available across the state, if the proposed reopening guidelines would address the potential age discrimination and if new social distancing rules would be based on maximum room occupancy ratings.
The Governor referenced the Opening Up America Again Guidelines recently issued by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a reasonable approach to the situation and encouraged area business leaders to forward any additional thoughts on the topic directly to her Policy Coordinator, Vijay Ramasamy.
As the Chamber’s Wichita Resource Center continues to evolve with local and state developments, please continue to look for updated information under the Preparing for Economic Recovery section of the area devoted to EMPLOYER GUIDANCE. It’s already populated with the President’s Guidelines referenced above as well as return to work and recovery documents shared by businesses in specific industries.