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Douglas County leadership announced phase three of its reopening plan will last another two weeks. 

Douglas County will remain in phase three of its reopening plan for two more weeks to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further, according to an updated order from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

Douglas County also recently adopted a mask mandate, which started July 1. Gov. Laura Kelly also made a statewide mask order, which went into effect Friday morning. 

Under the order, masks are required inside any indoor public space, when inside any and all healthcare spaces, when using or waiting for public transportation, and in spaces where standing six feet apart is not possible. 

Gatherings of more than 45 people are prohibited under the continued phase three. A mass gathering is viewed as a setting in which a social distance of six feet is not possible.

Individuals, as well as employers and businesses, are encouraged, as the order calls, to follow the Ad Astra plan released by Kelly.

While all businesses were allowed to reopen when the county entered phase three, the health department announced Monday all bars would close starting Friday following an increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Under the current order, all businesses except bars and nightclubs can open with customers maintaining social distance, as well as using physical objects to space groups out.

Businesses must follow the cleaning guidelines and avoid occupancy of more than 45 people unable to maintain social distance. All open businesses should follow guidelines specific to them on covid.ks.gov.

Schools and other K-12 educational buildings will have no more than 45 students, teachers, or additional staff present during operating hours, according to the order.

Any higher education operations that closed prior to May 18 should remain closed for in-person instruction if mass gatherings are required. No more than 45 individuals may be present at any event. 

Commencement or graduation ceremonies can take place with less than 45 individuals in a room, gym or facility at one time. People who go must maintain six feet of distance from those around them.

Any outdoor drive-thru graduations can take place. Those ceremonies in which individuals stay in their vehicles do not count toward the total number of people in one space, according to the order. 

Recreational centers and youth or non-professional sporting activities may commence as long as they follow the Department of Health and Environment guidelines. 

Originally, phase three was meant to end as early as June 22, but the county extended the order for an additional two weeks on June 19, following its first reported outbreak of the virus on June 12. 

With an additional two weeks, Douglas County will remain in phase three until at least July 17. This order becomes effective July 3 at 12:01 a.m. and will stay in effect until modified or repealed.

The county has 251 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Friday afternoon.

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