Tag Archives: social distancing

Missouri Announces Plan to Gradually Reopen Economic and Social Activity

Contributed by Brian Wacker, April 28, 2020

On Monday, April 27, 2020, Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced “Phase One” of the “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan” to gradually reopen the economic and social activity in the state, beginning on May 4, 2020.  As part of Phase One, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued an Order relaxing restrictions on businesses and social activities. 

The relaxed restrictions are:

  • Retail sales businesses can re-open, so long as the number of individuals in the retail location is limited as follows:
    • if the location is less than 10,000 square feet, then 25% or less of the business’ fire or building code occupancy;
    • if the location has more than 10,000 square feet, then 10% or less of the business’ fire or building code occupancy
  • All schools remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year; however, staff and students may reenter school buildings to work, retrieve personal belongings, and return school property.
    • Summer school is permitted to proceed under guidelines set forth by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.
    • Daycares, child care and schools are permitted to provide child care in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Restaurants can reopen for dining-in services if social distancing measures are taken, including spacing of six feet between tables, lack of communal seating areas and a prohibition on seating more than ten people at a single table. 
  • It remains prohibited for individuals to visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes or other assisted living homes unless they are there “to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life circumstances.”
  • With respect to all of these activities, individuals leaving their homes to engage in permitted activities, including when frequenting businesses and going to and from places of worship, must still “at all times practice social distancing” as prescribed by the CDC.

Businesses reopening pursuant to these guidelines are encouraged to take additional steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • Implement basic infection prevention measures informed by industry best practices
  • Modify physical workspaces to maximize social distancing
  • Minimize business travel
  • Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan
  • Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider
  • Encourage telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations
  • Return to work in phases and/or split shifts
  • Limit access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact
  • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance

However, businesses looking to open back up on May 4 should proceed with caution.  While this Order is statewide, it does not limit counties and municipalities from continuing to enact and enforce their own protective measures, including Stay-At-Home Orders already in place, with additional restrictions. This is especially true in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, which have recently extended their respective orders indefinitely.

This blog continues to monitor developments in Missouri, St. Louis County and St. Louis City. Check back for updates as additional guidance from the state and local authorities becomes available.

Missouri Mandates Social Distancing and St. Louis County and City Order “Stay At Home”

Contributed by Brian Wacker, March 23, 2020

Our blog previously reported on various state and local social distancing and shelter-in-place orders including California, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The State of Missouri mandated social distancing and restrictions on social gatherings and closed all schools. The City of St. Louis and St. Louis County  have each issued separate stay at home orders for residents and businesses. Below are  brief summaries and links to the actual orders.

Missouri’s Social Distancing Order

Governor Parsons ordered “Social Distancing” across the entire Show-Me State and his order remains in effect through April 6, 2020. All Missouri residents are to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people and “social gathering” is defined as any “planned or spontaneous event or convening” that brings more than 10 people “in a single space at the same time.” While all Missouri residents must avoid eating in and drinking at restaurants, bars and food courts; food drive-thru, curbside pickup and delivery remain unrestricted.

Visits to nursing homes, long-term care facilities and retirement homes are prohibited, and schools have been closed for the duration of the order.

Missouri residents may travel to grocery stores, pharmacy, gas stations, park and banks, etc. to secure supplies, however, necessary precautions to maintain social distancing to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including a six feet of distance between all individuals that are not family members

St. Louis County Stay At Home Order

St. Louis County’s order remains in effect through April 22, 2020 and imposes a variety of “stay at home” restrictions on individuals and businesses.

Individuals:  Individuals are permitted to engage in defined “essential activities” including travel and actions related to health and safety of individuals and family members, shopping for groceries and household supplies, outdoor activities such as walking in the park (provided social distancing is observed), and going to and from work for an essential business. Otherwise, all individuals in St. Louis County have been ordered to remain in their residence. Other than members of the same household gathering in one place, all intentional “gatherings,” which is defined as “occasions when people come together as a group, whether formal or informal and whether public or private,” are prohibited. Any individuals performing essential activities are still required to comply with social distancing requirements. 

Businesses:  Only essential businesses are permitted to continue necessary activities, however, each must comply “to the maximum extent possible” with all social distancing requirements. There are at present 40 categories of essential businesses including healthcare operations, grocery stores, food production, media, hardware stores, hotels/motels, construction, laundry services, mailing/shipping services, trades like plumbers and electricians and professional services like attorneys and accountants.  In fact, if your business meets the essential business definition, the St. Louis County order “strongly encourages” you to remain open.   

If your business is not an essential business, the order requires you to “cease all activities” except for minimum basic operations (maintaining inventory, payroll processing) and facilitating employees to work remotely from home.  

Travel:   Travel is prohibited except for essential travel and travel necessary to engage in essential activities. Essential travel includes any travel related to essential activities and travel to care for elderly, minors or dependents, purchase goods from essential businesses, travel to and from a residence or place of work outside of the county.

Governmental Functions: Public parks and open outdoor recreation areas are to remain open, but playgrounds must be closed. All individuals directly supporting  law enforcement, emergency response, firefighting and emergency management personnel, court personnel and anyone else performing essential government functions are also exempt.

Enforcement: The order may be enforced by either the prosecuting attorney or the county counselor which was specifically delegated authority to “take appropriate actions” with businesses and individuals who fail to comply including “after offering notice and an opportunity to be heard that are reasonable under the circumstances” (not to be less than two hours’ notice).

St. Louis City “Stay At Home” Order

The Saint Louis City’s order remains in effect through April 22, 2020 and mandates all persons living in the city to remain at home, with four exceptions:

  • Performing “tasks essential” for “health and safety” including for the personal health and safety of family, household members and pets, obtaining medicine, medical supplies, supplies to work from home or visiting health professionals
  • Procuring or delivery of food, services or supplies for individuals, household members or others to maintain “safety and sanitation.”
  • Outdoor walking or exercise, provided you maintain a minimum 6 foot social distance from other individuals
  • Going to and from work, where allowed by the order.

Businesses are required to cease all activities other than to maintain the value of their inventory, provide security and process payroll, etc. Similar to St. Louis County’s order, the city’s order exempts a wide range of businesses, non-profits and institutions from closure and for other businesses and organizations the order significantly restricts or closes their operations.  For the complete text of the city’s order, please click here.