Stay at Home Order FAQ

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Why was this order issued?
This emergency order was issued to protect the health and safety of all residents of Kansas City, with the goal of limiting the continued community spread of Coronavirus. It was issued based on the guidance of public health experts, as well as consultations with area medical leaders about the consequences of continued community spread of Coronavirus in the Kansas City metropolitan region on health care availability and access.

How long is the order in effect for?
The amended emergency order will take effect at 12:01 AM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in effect through 12:01 AM on May 15, 2020. The order will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and may be modified as circumstances change based on guidance from public health officials and other experts.

What does this order require?
The order requires Kansas City residents to stay at home unless they are engaged in one of the essential activities specified in the order. Essential activities include working in an essential business, obtaining supplies or necessary services, seeking medical care, caring for a family member or loved one, and exercising and maintaining personal health.  Individuals are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing to the extent feasible while engaging in these activities, and to stay home if not engaging in one of these specific activities.

Will residents be subject to penalties such as arrest or citations for leaving their homes?
Residents can leave their residences to engage in essential activities, including exercising and maintaining personal health (walking/bicycling/running/etc.), working at an essential business, obtaining supplies or necessary services, or seeking medical care. We strongly urge Kansas Citians to stay at home if they are not engaged in any of these essential activities as this will greatly aid efforts to stop the community spread of Coronavirus.

Does my business qualify as an essential business as defined in the emergency order?
Major categories of essential businesses defined in the order include:

  • Health care (doctors, dentists, nurses, hospitals, pharmacies, medical research facilities, blood donation services, labs, etc);
  • Food and drink production and distribution (including grocery stores, markets, restaurants that offer food for carryout, liquor stores);
  • Sanitation (including laundromats, dry cleaners, household and business cleaning services and supply stores);
  • Transportation (including railroads, airports, public transit, taxis and other private transportation providers, and gas stations);
  • Financial Services (including banks, insurance providers, and professional services required to comply with legal and regulatory requirements);
  • Manufacturing and distribution of supplies and materials for essential businesses (including trucking and other supply chain support functions); 
  • Maintenance and construction of infrastructure and households; 
    Child care;
  • Essential Government Operations;
  • Residential facilities (including hotels and motels); 
  • Media and Communications Providers; and 
  • Mailing, Shipping, and Delivery services.

A full list of categories of essential businesses is provided in the order. If you have specific questions about whether your business qualifies please email or call 816-513-1120 and we will provide additional guidance.

The city strongly encourages all essential businesses to allow employees to work from home and to maintain social distancing to the extent feasible in continuing to carry out their operations.

How are determinations made about which types of businesses are essential?
Determinations about which types of businesses are essential are made based on both the necessity of businesses for supporting life and safety as well as the public health risk certain activities pose, particularly those which require close in-person interaction. We may update this guidance based on the advice of health officials as circumstances change. 

My business does not fall under one of the categories deemed essential, can it remain open if health precautions are taken? 
Non-essential businesses can continue operations that can be conducted from employees’ homes or places of rest. They can also continue minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory and facilities and to ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions, as well as minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences or places of rest, provided social distancing is maintained. Any operations that do not meet these requirements must be ceased.

Do businesses and/or employees need formal certification or identification that they qualify as an essential business and/or are employed at an essential business? 

I am unclear whether my business qualifies as essential or non-essential. Can I receive a formal recommendation from the city as to whether I qualify?
Currently guidance is available on a general (industry) basis and not a case by case (specific business) basis. We encourage all business owners to review the order in its entirety if they believe there is ambiguity about whether they qualify as essential or not.

I want to have a wedding, dinner party, or other group event at my house. Is that allowed?
Gatherings of this sort are dangerous and social gatherings of more than 10 people are currently prohibited statewide per Order issued by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. In-person social gatherings are one of the primary transmission points for the Coronavirus, hosting in-person events of this type will facilitate the spread of the disease throughout the community. There have been many examples in other cities and countries where the disease spread rapidly through weddings, funerals, and other social events. Furthermore, social events are not one of the essential activities permitted under the emergency order, so attendees could be held in violation of the order.

What about services at places of worship (including weddings and funerals) or outside?
All social gatherings of 10 or more people are currently prohibited statewide per Order from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services under direction from Governor Parson. Many faith leaders have been holding services online. The Health Department is working on guidance that may allow individuals to apply for permission to hold weddings, funerals, and other special events provided strict and specific social distancing requirements are followed. This page will be updated when that guidance is available.

What are the penalties for non-compliance of this order?
Violations of any provision of this Order constitutes an imminent threat, creates an immediate menace to public health, and shall be considered a violation of Section 50-155 of the City’s Code of Ordinances. These can include fines, orders to suspend business operations, and other penalties. 

How will this emergency order be enforced?
The city has many mechanisms to enforce this order, including the Fire Marshal, Regulated Industries Division, and the Police Department. This order will be enforced similarly to other business-related ordinances (building occupancy, health requirements for food preparation, etc.) and violators will be subject to fines and business closure orders, among other penalties. City officials with this authority will have badges or other similar identifying credentials. If your business is informed that it must shutdown by someone who claims to represent the city but does not have credentials identifying them as such, please contact the police department.

I’m worried that there are clearly sick individuals at a workplace or other location. How can I report this?
Please contact the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division at 816-513-6315.

My employer is forcing me to work and I don’t believe they are an essential business or I don’t believe I am essential employee. How can I report this?
First, please confirm whether your employer is an essential business by reviewing this FAQ. If further clarification is required about whether a business is essential, please email or call 816-513-1120.

If your employer is classified as essential, they can make their own determination about whether employees can work from home and/or whether they must continue to report to their standard places of duty. The city has strongly encouraged all essential employers to allow employees to work from home and to maintain social distancing to the extent feasible. However, under Missouri law, the city cannot compel essential businesses to allow employees to carry out their duties from home nor impose penalties on businesses that terminate workers who do not report for duty. Workers can choose to quit if they believe that their job is jeopardizing their personal health.

Non-essential employers must cease all operations not required to maintain basic inventory, security, process payroll, or facilitate employees’ ability to work from home. If you believe your non-essential employer is operating in violation of the Mayor’s Emergency Order, you can report that violation in the following ways.

If your employer is a tavern or entertainment business, please contact the Regulated Industries Division at 816-513-4560.

If there is a group of more than 10 people gathered in a building or structure that is not an essential business nor individuals gathered in their own primary residence or place of rest, please contact the Fire Marshall at 816-606-4238.

If there are other activities that you believe are unlawful under the Emergency Order, please contact the Police Department at 816-234-5111.

If you have other questions about the Emergency Order, please contact 311 and the city will route your question to the appropriate department.

Are businesses in the Clay or Platte County portions, of Kansas City, MO subject to this order? What about businesses in Kansas or other parts of the region that aren’t in Kansas City, MO?
The entirety of Kansas City, MO (including parts of the city in Platte and Clay Counties) is subject to this order. Largely similar orders have been issued by many neighboring jurisdictions (including Johnson, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth Counties in Kansas and portions of Jackson, Clay, and Platte Counties in Missouri that are not part of Kansas City). Individuals and businesses in jurisdictions outside of Kansas City, MO will need to contact their officials for clarifications about the specifics of those orders.

Is construction activity classified as essential? 
Yes, public works, infrastructure (including commercial buildings), and housing construction are classified as essential. We strongly encourage construction businesses to carry out their work in compliance with Social Distancing requirements and guidelines to the extent feasible.

Are manufacturing facilities classified as essential?
Any manufacturing operation that supplies goods necessary for the operation of other essential businesses (for example medical equipment, transport equipment, telecommunications equipment, supplies necessary to maintain or build infrastructure, sanitation and cleaning supplies, food or beverages, etc.) is classified as essential.

Are transit operations such as railroads, airports, buses, and truckers  classified as essential?
Yes, transit operators (Including railroads, airline and airport workers, and public transit organizations) are classified as essential. Additionally, maintenance providers (such as mechanics or bike repair shops) are also classified as essential, as are suppliers of parts needed to maintain the operations of transit providers.  Truckers are also classified as essential.

Are animal shelters and pet boarding facilities essential?
Yes, animal shelters and pet boarding facilities are essential. The Health Department is working on social distancing guidance for these businesses, that guidance will be posted when it is available.

Are hotels and motels classified as essential?
Yes. We recognize that individuals employed in essential businesses who are traveling (for example medical workers or infrastructure maintenance workers) and/or individuals who find their homes temporarily uninhabitable may need to secure shelter.

Are home repair and maintenance services classified as essential?
Yes, home repair services including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, lawn and landscape care, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and essential businesses are classified as essential.

Are communications providers (such as internet providers, businesses that enable internet access and availability, organizations that support distance learning, etc) classified as essential?
Yes, businesses and organizations that facilitate and support internet access and communications, including the ability to work and learn from home, are considered essential

Are liquor stores and other markets that sell liquor classified as essential?
Yes, businesses that distribute food or drink are classified as essential. We encourage the maintenance of social distancing to the extent feasible in all cases.

Are child care providers classified as essential? 
Yes. The city recognizes that many workers in essential industries need access to child care to continue to work. The order includes the following guidance for child care providers and the city recommends that all providers follow this guidance to the extent feasible: 

  1. Childcare should be carried out in stable groups, preferably with 10 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 10 or fewer children are in the same group each day);
  2. Children should not change from one group to another; 
  3. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group should be in a separate room. Groups should not mix with each other; and 
  4. Childcare providers should remain solely with one group of children.

Are realtors, leasing agents, building inspectors, and movers classified as essential?
Yes, realtors, leasing agents, building/housing inspection services, movers, and other services necessary to help people find or maintain housing are classified as essential. We strongly encourage all of these services to practice social distancing to the extent feasible and to limit unnecessary activities that can be deferred to a later date. 

Are personal services, such as nail salons, hair salons, and tanning facilities classified as essential?
No, businesses that provide personal services are not classified as essential.

Are gyms, workout facilities, or golf courses classified as essential?
Gyms and workout facilities are not classified as essential. However, individuals are encouraged to use parks and exercise outdoors while they practice Social Distancing, though certain high-traffic areas such as playgrounds and courts may be closed. The Parks and Health Departments are working on guidance that may allow for golfing to continue provided specific social distancing criteria are followed, this page will be updated when that information is available.
Are co-working spaces classified as essential?


Are smoke shops and tobacco stores classified as essential?
No, stores selling primarily tobacco and vaping products are not considered essential.

Why are schools closed and how long are they closed for?

Schools are closed for the remainder of the school year per order of the Missouri governor.

I work at an essential business but don’t believe I am an essential employee. Do I have to work?
The city cannot compel any individual to go to work, nor can it make determinations for essential businesses about which employees are essential and non-essential for carrying out its work. Essential businesses can continue standard operations provided social distancing is maintained to the extent feasible. Essential businesses are strongly encouraged to allow employees whose duties can be carried out from home to do so.

I own a business in an essential industry. Do I have to stay open?
The city cannot compel any business to remain open. 

My business and/or my job has been impacted by the Coronavirus, where can I go to get help? includes information on both health/safety and financial resources for businesses and employees is available here. The city, local philanthropies, and faith-based organizations are actively working on additional support measures and will share more information as it becomes available.

A coalition of charitable, business and governmental organizations have formed an alliance to raise $10 million for a Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This fund will support local nonprofit organizations that provide direct services and support. If you are an individual needing resources now, please contact United Way 211 by dialing 211 to reach trained, caring professionals seven days a week, 24 hours a day, or visit

I have a question that isn’t covered by this FAQ, how can I get an answer? 
We encourage everyone to review the order in its entirety. If that does not resolve your question, please contact 311 and we will try to respond and/or post an update to this FAQ which responds to your question as quickly as feasible.