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Kansas City Issues Citywide Stay-at-Home Order

n March 21, 2020, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas issued Second Amended Order 20-01, repealing the city’s earlier Amended Order dated March 16, 2020, and replacing it with a stricter, “Stay At Home” order to contain and control the spread of COVID-19. The local governments for Johnson, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Clay, Platte, and Jackson counties in Missouri, soon joined Kansas City, Missouri, in issuing similar orders to contain and control the spread of COVID-19.

Kansas City’s Second Amended Order requires that “Non-Essential Business and Other Non-Essential Operations” within the city cease all in-person operations, though the order explicitly states that the non-essential businesses and operations may continue work-from-home policies that allow employees to perform activities at their own “residences or places of rest.”

Individuals are limited to leaving the home only for “Essential Activities,” which includes the performance of work “providing essential products and services at an Essential Business,” and to carry out activities as specifically included within the order, including engaging in “Minimum Basic Operations.”

“Minimum Basic Operations” are defined to include the “minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory and facilities, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.” Individuals and businesses performing Minimum Basic Operations are required to maintain social distancing requirements to the fullest extent possible.

Essential businesses and others working for or supporting essential businesses, discussed further below, are exempted from the order, along with first responders, emergency management personnel and dispatchers, court personnel, law enforcement personnel, and school personnel operating at the direction of administrator designation.

Essential Businesses and Operations

The Second Amended Order defines “Essential Businesses” to include:

  • Essential Infrastructure, which is defined in a non-exhaustive list as, “public works construction, construction of housing, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, railroad and rail systems, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste removal, internet, and telecommunication systems.” (Wyandotte, Johnson, and Jackson counties’ orders exclude railroads and rail systems from their lists of essential businesses.)
  • Food providers, including grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, food banks, convenience stores, and establishments which are engaged in the retail of food items and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). Farming, livestock, fishing, and other food cultivation businesses are also exempt.
  • Essential services, including businesses which provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, “Essential Activities,” and “Essential Businesses,” including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, hardware stores, laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers.
  • Financial institutions, including banks and related financial institutions.
  • Media, including newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.
  • Mail service, including businesses providing mailing and shipping services, such as post office boxes.
  • Business suppliers that supply products needed for people to work from home and that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate.
  • Grocery delivery businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences.
  • Transportation providers, such as airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers, as well as gas stations, and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities.
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food and drink, but only for delivery or carryout.
  • Care facilities, including home-based care for seniors, adults or children, and residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children.
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities.
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted by the order to work. Childcare facilities guidelines are provided in the order, and include that children should be cared for in “stable,” non-changing groups of 10 or fewer that are not mixed throughout the day with other children. The guidelines also recommend that childcare providers remain the same for each group.
  • Certain charitable organizations are also exempted, including “businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals,” as well as schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public, on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only.

Breaking from the other jurisdictions’ orders, Johnson County’s Emergency Public Health Order included, in addition to the essential businesses above, three exemptions to the Stay at Home Order for the following:

  • Mortuary, cremation, and burial services
  • Hotels and motels, to the extent they are used for lodging and carryout/delivery food services
  • Certain manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies that produce and supply essential products and services in and for residences and industries such as:
    • Pharmaceutical
    • Technology
    • Biotechnology
    • Healthcare
    • Chemicals and sanitation
    • Waste pickup and disposal
    • Agriculture
    • Food and beverage
    • Transportation
    • Energy
    • Steel and steel products
    • Petroleum
    • Lubricants and fuel
    • Mining
    • Construction
    • National defense
    • Communications
    • Products and services used by Essential Businesses

Healthcare Operations

Exempted healthcare operations include:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • Other healthcare facilities
  • Healthcare suppliers
  • Home healthcare service providers
  • Mental health providers
  • Any related and/or ancillary healthcare services
  • Veterinary care
  • All other healthcare services provided to animals

The healthcare operations exemption is intended to be construed broadly so as to avoid any impacts on the delivery of healthcare. However, it does not include fitness and exercise gyms or similar facilities.

The Second Amended Order (jointly issued by Kansas City government officials across the state line in Kansas) is supplemented by individual orders from Johnson (see above), Leavenworth, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and ClayJackson, and Platte counties in Missouri. All orders will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The Kansas orders end on April 23, 2020 (Johnson County’s order ends at 12:01 a.m. and Leavenworth’s order ends at 11:59 p.m.). The Missouri orders end at 11:59 p.m. on April 24, 2020, with the exception of Platte County’s stay-at-home order, which will end at 12:00 a.m. on April 24, 2020.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 83

About this Author

Office Managing Shareholder

Stacy M. Bunck is a Shareholder in the firm’s Kansas City Office, with extensive experience in employment-related disputes in various forums throughout the Midwest. She has experience defending allegations of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wrongful discharge, and defending FLSA collective actions.

In addition to employment litigation, Ms. Bunck drafts and reviews employee handbooks and policies, provides legal advice regarding various employment-related laws and regulations, litigation avoidance, and employment best practices, and conducts a wide range of workplace...

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Claudia Tran Employment Lawyer Ogletree

Claudia Tran is an associate in the Kansas City office of Ogletree Deakins. Claudia was raised in Overland Park, Kansas, and attended the University of Missouri, where she obtained an undergraduate degree in psychology. She attended Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana, where she served as the student bar association’s alumni chair for two years, as well as the production and online editor for the Journal of Legislation and the director of public relations for the sports, communication, and entertainment law forum.

While in law school, Claudia also externed in the...