24 Mar COVID-19 County Emergency Public Health Order Update
Kansas Grain and Feed Association has partnered with Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association and the Kansas Cooperative Council to work on behalf of the agribusiness and shared cooperative industries during this uncertain time. As a follow-up to the communication KGFA provided earlier today regarding essential business definitions, please see below.
Background and the Law:
Kansas law grants each county health officer the authority to declare a pandemic emergency within its own county and to issue a “quarantine/stay at home” Order. These Orders are derived from the county health officer, and enforced by the County Sheriff. The language of each Order is specific to that county, and there is no national or state-level preemption of the Orders.
For that reason, we must receive confirmation from each county that our industry is exempt from that county’s quarantine order as an essential business conducting an essential activity – the production of food and feed. While you may attempt to use a template letter for this, you and your employees will be at the mercy of the police or Sheriff’s Deputy unless you have documentation from a county official clearly stating that our industry is exempt from the county Order.
Here is what we are doing:
Currently, four Kansas counties/local governments have issued quarantine orders. We are working with those counties to clarify that our industry is exempt from the Order as an essential business, and have already received this clarification for Johnson County. As additional counties issue Orders, we will be reaching out to officials in those counties to receive similar clarification. The need to receive this clarification for each county makes this task more difficult, but it is likely the only way to provide the certainty our members need when conducting business or traveling through multiple counties under a quarantine order.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to KGFA, KARA or KCC for support. Please contact us if you do business in an affected county and we will follow up with guidance. The Kansas League of of Municipalities is actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and is working with other agencies to provide member cities with timely, accurate and important information as it becomes available. This is meant to be a resource page with trusted information for cities in Kansas when managing municipal resources during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.