Last night, Governor Laura Kelly announced her “
Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas
” which allows her previous statewide “Safer at Home” order to expire on May 3rd and implements a
process in reopening the state beginning on May 4th
with "Phase 1".
Before moving onto the next "Phase," the Governor will evaluate the state’s disease spread, testing rates, death rates, hospitalizations, ability of state and local public health authorities to contain outbreaks and conduct contact tracing, and availability of personal protective equipment when determining if the state should move to the next “Phase.” Regardless of the "Phase," the State Health Officer retains the authority to impose additional public health interventions in any area that contains an emergent and significant public health risk as determined by the Officer.
Also, under the plan, Kansas local units of government will retain authority to impose additional restrictions that are in the best interest of their residents. For instance, Johnson and Wyandotte Counties have extend their local stay at home orders until May 10th. Those local units of government that choose not to impose any additional restrictions are required to operate within the regulatory framework of the state plan for each "Phase."
What does this mean for the retail automobile industry? Very little, except for hopefully increased traffic into our dealerships. Dealers should continue the following responsible best practices that they have previously implemented when the pandemic started:
- Encourage employees to wash with soap and water or sanitize hands frequently;
- Make hand sanitizer available throughout the dealership;
- Keep anti-bacterial wipes around and frequently wipe down the interior of vehicles in the showroom and demos before/after test drives;
- Treat customer cars that come in for service the same way - disinfect them before your technicians diagnose and repair these vehicles;
- Encourage employees to avoid shaking hands;
- Require your cleaning companies to treat all work surfaces, including phones, computers, floors, and restrooms, with proper disinfectants;
- Discourage employees from using other employees' phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
- Avoid any instances in which groups of more than 10 individuals are in one location and are unable to consistently maintain 6-feet of distance with only infrequent or incidental contact. However, this does not limit the total occupancy of a dealership, but does require that businesses limit areas and instances in which consistent physical distancing cannot be maintained; and
- Any employees exhibiting symptoms should be required to stay at home and asked to call their health care provider.
It is hard to believe we issued our first COVID-19 Alert on March 14th. We hope you have found our communications helpful and informative as we have navigated the pandemic. Like you, we look forward to opening up our state and putting this behind us.