Kansas Gov. Kelly reissues ban on pandemic-related evictions and foreclosures

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly speaks at a news conference on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday announced she was reinstating a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that are caused by tenants and owners being unable to pay their bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial ban on pandemic-related evictions and foreclosures in Kansas expired in June, but Kelly said that as federal unemployment benefits have expired in recent weeks, Kansas is no longer in a place where it can wait and hope that the country’s leaders can agree on another economic stimulus package.

Kelly said Monday that “all eyes are now on Congress” as millions of U.S. families await relief. In the meantime, Kelly said she couldn’t wait to act in Kansas.

“I can’t sit back and do nothing while the Senate has gone on vacation without addressing the issue,” Kelly said. “This pandemic is so devastating to our communities, preventing people from working while the federal unemployment compensation of $600 has lapsed.”

Kansas’ moratorium on pandemic-related evictions and foreclosures will last for two weeks “with the hope that the Senate gets its act together,” Kelly said. If there is no stimulus package in two weeks, she will extend the moratorium.

“No Kansan should be kicked out of their home during the pandemic,” she said. “That’s just wrong.”

Kansas on Monday confirmed 1,282 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 35,167. The state also confirmed another three deaths attributed to the virus, which has now claimed the lives of 405 Kansans. The 1,282 cases were out of a total of 11,219 tests — a positive rate of 11.4%. Since the beginning of the pandemic, leading epidemiologists have expressed concerns about areas that test above a 10% positive rate.

Kelly reiterated Monday that she is concerned about Kansas’ COVID-19 trajectory, and again pleaded with all Kansans to wear masks in public spaces and where social distancing of at least 6 feet isn’t possible.

“These numbers should concern all of us, especially as parents are preparing to send their children back to school over the next few weeks,” she said. “The science is clear. Children can catch and spread the virus, and while they may not be symptomatic, school faculty and their families might be.”

Kelly also mentioned Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinators, who visited Kansas City over the weekend. Birx came to Kansas City, Kelly said, because the White House has identified Kansas as a “red zone” — meaning a state that reported new cases of 100 per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of at least 10%.

“We are really asking all Kansans, whether you’re urban or rural, to really wear a mask inside and outside every day,” Kelly said. “… It doesn’t matter which side of the political aisle you’re on or what size your community is. The data don’t lie. Wearing a mask works. And right now, more than ever, we need Kansans to step up and do their part to slow the spread of this virus.”


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