vmiramontes / flickr Creative Commons

With so many people working from home during the pandemic, it raises the question: Will we ever go back to the office?

Tom Johnson, president of the Wichita commercial real estate firm NAI Martens, says probably — although it may look different from when you were last there.

With 40 years of experience, Johnson has seen office space change over the decades, from private offices to cubicles to open floor plans to the latest trend: working remotely.

The Range | July 31, 2020

Jul 31, 2020
Nadya Faulx / KMUW

This week on The Range, after a steady drumbeat of bad business news, we're focusing on the sunnier side of things, including what's keeping one local economist optimistic.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Since the pandemic started in March, The Range has chronicled the economic difficulties of a variety of industries and businesses: restaurants, airlines, musicians, nonprofits, theaters.

It’s been a pretty steady drumbeat of hard times.

But believe it or not, there are some bright spots in this pandemic economy.

Stephan Bisaha / KMUW

Joe Ruocco began collecting baseball cards in 1954. He’s never stopped.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

While most people across Kansas still slumber, trash truck crews start filing into work — and get their temperatures taken.

The people who haul debris to landfills shifted to working in a mask and doing their best to keep COVID-19 at bay a while ago. While the rest of the Kansas economy awakens from the coronavirus lockdown, trash crews already know the drill.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Starting Friday, Kansans can gather in slightly larger groups, take in a movie, go to an art museum and bowl a few frames.

But concerts, festivals, summer camps and parades will remain shut down. And you still won’t be able to get a drink at a bar.

At a news conference Tuesday a day before a meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House, Gov. Laura Kelly announced another round of gradually eased restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.

After nine workers at the FedEx distribution center in Olathe tested positive for COVID-19 last week, new test results for 119 workers at the facility show only two more cases.

“Our goal was to test a substantial portion of employees who may have been exposed to the virus, and that was accomplished,” Barbara Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said in an email Monday.

The 119 tested workers represent just over half of the approximately 200 employees at the facility working in two shifts.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Sedgwick County is not imposing any additional local restrictions or policies to Gov. Laura Kelly’s phased-in plan for reopening the community unveiled Thursday night.

The statewide stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 30 will expire Sunday, allowing most restaurants, stores and other idled businesses to reopen if they use industry-specific safety protocols. A limit on gatherings of more than 10 people remains in effect through at least May 18.

TOPEKA, Kansas — With the number of new coronavirus cases still rising steadily and the state’s economy stuck in reverse, Gov. Laura Kelly announced her plans for a phased-in reopening.

The governor’s plan — essentially it lets retailers, restaurants and churches ease into a new normal — comes despite Kansas lagging other states in testing for COVID-19 and growing outbreaks clustered near meatpacking plants.

After six weeks of asking Kansans to stay at home, Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to announce Thursday that the state will start to reopen for businesses and some public gatherings on May 4.

Even if people can travel at-will and previously non-essential retailers can open their doors, the governor likely will leave some restrictions in place and maybe enact new rules.