Last Updated on March 12, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, a small city in Kansas that has yet to have a reported case of coronavirus is planning to cancel public events.
Wichita, Kansas, a city with a total population of less than 400,000, is taking the cautious step of cancelling the grand opening of a small park near downtown.
Mayor Brandon Whipple announced the cancellation, and hinted toward more, in a video address to the city on Thursday.
“Like you, we have been monitoring the cases of coronavirus, and we are taking this very seriously,” said Whipple. “Out of an abundance of caution and of concern for the health and welfare of our citizens and our neighbors, we will be cancelling tonight’s opening event at Naftzger Park.”
The small park has undergone a controversial remodel over the last several years, with the city government hoping to assuage concerns over its utility by encouraging public events that would be free and open to the public. Due to coronavirus, it is unclear when the park may be used for its intended purpose.
Whipple continued, “The county commission also serves as the board of health, and are really leading the charge with the plans for coronavirus.”
“We also have our staff who are evaluating further steps, and looking at future events,” said Whipple. “We will be coming, again, with another message in the next 24 hours to update you on the city’s response.”
“Thank you for making sure that you are doing your part by washing your hands and doing best practices,” the mayor concluded.
The City of Wichita also announced new efforts to thoroughly clean major public spaces to combat the spread of coronavirus.
New York and New Jersey have both taken unprecedented steps to curtail public gatherings, with New York banning all gatherings of over 500 people, and New Jersey banning any with more than 250.
This may be the first Midwest city to begin curtailing public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.