(RILEY COUNTY, KANSAS - August 15, 2020) Over the last few nights, crowds have been observed in Manhattan not following the health guidelines established in Local Health Order 17. As the Local Health Officer appointed by the Board of Health, Julie Gibbs is duly authorized to prohibit public gatherings and take other measures necessary for the control of any and all infectious or contagious diseases.
“I am working with the Riley County Police Department to address violations,” said Local Health Officer Julie Gibbs.
Violations of the order may subject the violator to a specific health order banning future gatherings at that location and may include criminal penalties. Businesses can be closed if deemed necessary to protect public health.
“It is disappointing to see people in the community make choices without regard for the safety of others,” said Gibbs. “Most business owners have been following guidelines and doing everything in their power to slow the spread of the virus. Those that haven’t will face action, which can include closure. Some communities in Kansas have closed bars and nightclubs. I hope we don’t get to that point, but closing certain categories of business is one of the options available.”
Any person violating any provision of Local Health Orders or failing to comply with any of the requirements shall be fined, upon conviction, up to $100 for each offense, pursuant to K.S.A. 65- 127. Up to this point, no businesses have been fined or closed for violating Local Health Orders. Closures of individual businesses have been voluntary and communications have focused on safety education.
The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in a restaurant or bar setting, and requirements have been put in place for that reason. In Riley County, at least 27% of all positive cases have been linked to bars and restaurants, including more than 70 employees.
Please do not call 911 to report complaints about health violations. Please report health order complaints to the Riley County Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or the information hotline at 785-587-4526. Complaints requiring investigation will be forwarded to the Riley County Police Department.
To send a complaint about mask violations in the City of Manhattan, please email email@example.com.
For more information about Riley County’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, visit the Riley County website at www.rileycountyks.gov/coronavirus , follow RCHD on Facebook at /Rileycountyhealthdepartment/ and Twitter @RileyCoHealth.