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Springfield Pivots To 'Phase 3' Of Pandemic Recovery, Raising Occupancy Limits

Springfield's historic City Hall building (Photo credit: KSMU)

Springfield officials announced Friday a new order that further lifts restrictions on businesses and community gatherings as part of the city's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes the same week health officials in northwest Arkansas and in the southwest Missouri counties of Newton, Jasper and McDonald Counties are reporting a concerning uptick in COVID-19 cases.  

The Springfield order outlines Phase 3 of the Road to Recovery Plan, and that phase will be effective June 15 through July 15, unless officials decide to move to Phase 4 sooner. City officials plan to review the order prior to July 5, according to a release from the city.

Phase 3 increases the occupancy limits in most categories to 50%, which is up from 25% in the previous order. The formula for determining that limit of people is:  take the square footage of the area, divide that by 30, then take that answer times 50 percent.

Greene County officials also announced a resolution strongly urging residents to follow CDC guidelines, but the county did not issue a new order for restrictions. Instead, the Greene County Commission voted to allow the current “Road to Recovery” Order to expire on Monday, June 15.

City Manager Jason Gage said Friday at a press conference that the order stipulates that all businesses carry out the CDC recommended social distancing and cleaning guidelines to the greatest degree possible.  The CDC has recommended keeping six feet of distance between people throughout most of the pandemic.

Gage said businesses may instead implement at least three feet of distancing and require anyone in those public areas to wear a mask.

Also in Phase 3, religious services, conferences, exhibitions, attractions and other activities described as “enhanced-risk” will be required to adhere to 50% occupancy limits.

“Not all businesses or religious congregations are ready for this step,” said Mayor Ken McClure in a news release from the City of Springfield. “We understand that and continue to encourage individual and organizational responsibility when making plans to open or open further. Every person and every organization is different, and the risks are different, too.”  

Day cares in Springfield will not have any limitations during Phase 3, and the City of Springfield will permit special events on public property with a 25% occupancy limit.

Local coronavirus data is compiled on the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard.  

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