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KSMU is dedicated to broadcasting critically important information as our community experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you'll find our ongoing coverage.

Springfield, Greene County Issue New Emergency Orders Detailing 'Road To Recovery'

Chloe O'Neill

Springfield and Greene County officials issued new orders Thursday outlining plans to reopen most businesses and organizations starting Monday when previous stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus are set to expire.

Ken McClure, mayor of Springfield, said in a news conference that while most businesses reopen Monday, May 4, occupancy limits will remain in place.

“The Road to Recovery orders require businesses and organizations to adhere to occupancy limitations and still requires social distancing and cleansing guidelines. These have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Personal service providers will have additional safety requirements,” McClure said.

And it won’t be back to normal just yet for event venues, bars, and places of worship.

Public gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited through May 31, according to the orders.

Clay Goddard directs the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

“Mass gatherings are still banned.  And I know that we all want to get together again, but mass gatherings are the place disease spreads like wildfire.  It’s what caused the secondary spike in St. Louis during the 1918 flu,” Goddard said.

You can read the entire City of Springfield order by clicking here, and the Greene County order here.

Religious services, mass gatherings

The orders stipulate that places of worship may conduct “drive-in” services, as long as participants people remain in their vehicles throughout the entire service and park at least nine feet apart.

Credit KSMU
Churches and other faith-based organizations are prohibited from gathering except during "drive-in" services, during which strict distancing guidelines must be followed, according to the April 30, 2020 orders.

Restrooms at churches and other places of worship are to remain closed, except for emergencies, and participants in a “drive-in” worship service, including clergy and staff, must remain at least six feet apart.

Mark Struckhoff, past executive director of Council of Churches of the Ozarks, said a recent survey of  faith-based leaders showed more than four out of five religious leaders were not comfortable reopening their houses of worship before the end of May.

Greene County still had 17 active cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday. 

Eight people have died in Greene County since the pandemic hit.

Bars, fitness classes, and other close-contact businesses to remain closed for now

Some businesses that bring groups of people together, including bars, fitness classes, movie theatres or museums, will not be allowed to reopen on Monday.

Conferences, fitness classes, exhibitions, playgrounds, live performances, and businesses involving contact sports are also prohibited from opening for three more weeks.

For 21 days, the county will continue to monitor public health data, which officials say they will use to decide on the next steps.

Masks for employees, customers

The orders stipulate that employees providing “personal care services”—including hair and nail salons, estheticians, and massage therapists—will be required to wear masks.  These businesses must also require customers to wear masks, “to the extent possible while receiving the service,” according to the order.

You can read the CDC's latest recommendation for how and when to use face masks by clicking here.  

Occupancy limits:  business owners must adhere to formula

All businesses that were deemed “non-essential” in the previous, stay-at-home emergency order, as well as retail or “personal care services” businesses, must limit the number of customers at any one time.  

The formula for determining that maximum limit of customers is below.

For locations with a square footage less than 10,000 square feet:

Divide the total number of square feet of that part of the building “devoted to the subject business” by 30, then take that answer times 25%.  The result is the maximum number of people allowed.

An example provided in a City of Springfield press release shows the following hypothetical business situation: 2,500 total square feet divided by 30, then that answer times 0.25 equals and end result of 20 people.

And for locations with a square footage of 10,000 square feet or more:

Divide the number of square feet of the part of the building “devoted to the subject business” by 30, then take that answer times 10%.  The resulting number is how many people are allowed at one time.

Restaurants can calculate their maximum number of allowed customers by dividing the square footage of the dining area by 30, then multiplying that resulting figure by 0.25.  This applies to both indoor and outdoor seating, according to the new orders. 

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