O’Malley’s in Aggieville (Photo by: Brandon Peoples/KMAN)

Two days after it was ordered by the Riley County Health Department to close, O’Malley’s and O’Malley’s Alley officially reopened Monday.

Riley County Health Officer Julie Gibbs said Monday the bar’s owner submitted a plan to reopen based on the criteria in Local Health Order No. 18. That plan was reviewed and approved. Gibbs says she hopes the incident serves as a learning opportunity for all bar and restaurant owners.

“We’ve been getting complaints for a couple weeks and so we decided to really look at that area and determine if something did need to be done,” she said.

Gibbs says she’s hoping bar owners will feel comfortable enough to approach health officials with concerns. For the most part that has been happening. O’Malley’s was the exception Friday as some employees weren’t following certain protocols, like wearing masks on shift and patrons gathering in standing areas consuming alcohol. The latter is currently restricted to seated areas only.

“We really just want to avoid crowds and congregating in the bars,” she said.

Local health order 18 remains in place indefinitely. Manhattan City Commissioners next week will consider a second reading of an extension of the citywide mask ordinance beyond Labor Day.

The health department is also continuing to work with local school districts rolling out reopening plans. USD 383 Manhattan/Ogden begins classes Wednesday. Gibbs says the health department is prepared for the potential challenges COVID-19 may bring this fall.

“It’s going to be kind of an experiment to see how this all works, whether it’s a hybrid or all in-person. Certainly our nurses are ready, we’ve been having multiple meetings to ensure they have protocols down and know exactly what to do if a kid gets sick,” she said.

Gibbs remains hopeful the county’s weekly percent positive rate stays low. It will be a determining factor to keeping schools open for in person learning this semester.

As of Monday, for the previous 14 days, 9.28 percent of those tested in the county, tested positive for COVID-19. When that number goes above 10 percent, according to the district’s reopening plan, it shifts the delivery mode of instruction to all distance learning. USD 383 says while that is one determining factor, it will weigh other factors if a transition in learning should occur.

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