Franklin County began to see a rise in reported cases of COVID-19 as the statewide stay-at-home expired Monday.


County health officials reported two more known cases Friday and added another Sunday, bringing the county’s total up to 17. Thirteen of those cases have recovered and no deaths have yet been attributed to the virus in the county, health officials reported.


During a special meeting of the Board of Franklin County Commissioners held Friday, Franklin County approved a proposal from Public Health Officer, Dr. Bud Ransom, to follow the State of Kansas’ re-opening plan without any additional restrictions. Local government retains the ability to impose additional restrictions that are in the best interest of the health of their residents.


Phase one of the plan began Monday with businesses not specifically prohibited from opening under the state’s order allowed to reopen if they adhere to the restrictions set forth by the state. These included many businesses on Franklin County Main Streets, including most restaurants.


“We would like to thank not only our staff but all of our customers who have supported us through this pandemic,” said Smoked Creations BBQ in a statement online. “Our number one priority is the health and safety of our staff and all customers. Therefore, seating will be limited to adhere to all local and state guidelines. We look forward to seeing all of you again.”


Activities not yet allowed under the state’s order include community centers, large entertainment venues with capacity of over 2,000, fairs, festivals, parades, graduations, public swimming pools, organized sports facilities and summer camps.


Establishments not yet allowed to open under the state’s orders include bars and nightclubs (excluding those already operating curbside or carryout service), casinos (non-tribal), indoor leisure spaces such as theaters, museums and bowling alleys, along with fitness centers and gyms. Personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided such as nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, etc., are also not allowed to open.


The Ottawa Public Library is making plans for a phased re-opening, library officials said.


The library will open May 12 with limited hours for holds pick up and fax services. Those hours will be announced at a later time.


Officials said staff have been busy preparing the library to safely open in phases, which will eventually lead to the return of regular hours and full patron services.


The Richmond Public Library opened to the public Monday and plans to be open noon to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Richmond library officials said the building will be limited to 3 patrons at a time, and individuals will have 15 minutes to conduct their business.


Individuals are strongly encouraged to stay home whenever possible, wear masks in public settings, maintain 6 feet of social distance and continue to practice good hand hygiene.