Phase two of Jackson County’s reopening will take effect no earlier than June 1, the county announced Friday, with increased capacity limits and a few more openings allowed.


The first phase for reopening from pandemic restrictions started May 11. The second phase will last at least two to four weeks. Steps in phases are subject to data criteria regarding sufficient testing and positive results, contract tracing, hospital capacity and available personal protective equipment.


Under phase two, gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed (up from 10), and capacity limits of non-essential businesses, places of worship, weddings and funerals will increase to 50 percent (from 10 or 25 percent). Community centers, theaters (50 percent each) and swimming pools and higher education campuses can open with limits. Graduations (50 people maximum), organized/youth sports and summer camps are also allowed with limits.


Fairs, parades, festivals, playground equipment and K-12 schools remain closed in phase two.


When phase three begins, many capacity limits will be raised to 75 percent. The Jackson County Health Department says it will release further information on guidelines next week.


Also, next week the state will begin to provide free community COVID-19 testing to residents across the state, regardless if a citizen is experiencing symptoms.


In Jackson County, testing will be available 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at Cable-Dahmer Arena near Interstate 70/470 interchange.


Missouri residency is the only requirement; individuals do not have to live in the county in which they are tested.


Online pre-registration at (go to: health.mo.gov/index.php, then click on “Recent News”) is encouraged to allow for more efficient testing. Those without access to online pre-registration can call the Missouri COVID-19 hotline for registration assistance at 877-435-8411.