Springfield, Greene County Issue Stay-At-Home Orders

Mar 24, 2020

The historic Greene County Courthouse in Springfield, Missouri.
Credit Chloe O'Neill / KSMU

Greene County has ordered its citizens to stay at home for 30 days, except for essential activities. Violations of the order will be considered a misdemeanor.

This comes as local hospital executives and doctors warn that Springfield’s hospitals could be overrun with cases of COVID-19 if they don’t take these extraordinary measures now.

The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m., Thursday, March 25.  The City of Springfield issued an order with nearly identical restrictions. You can read the city's order here

All businesses and other operations in the city, except those defined as “essential business,” will be required to cease all in-person operations at that time, according to officials.   

Individuals may leave their residences or place of rest only to perform activities deemed “essential” in the order.  Essential activities include going out to get medical supplies or medicine, visiting a health care professional, or getting groceries.  Read the full text of the order, which includes all exemptions, by clicking here.

Bob Dixon is the presiding Commissioner of Greene County and briefed the public at a virtual press conference Tuesday.

“We knew that if we did nothing, the unmitigated disease surge would overwhelm our citizens, our medical systems of care, and result in avoidable deaths,” Dixon said.

Dixon said this gives our community cause for action, not fear—and gives the region more reason to be hopeful for brighter days.

This comes at the advice of Springfield-Greene County Health Department director Clay Goddard, as well as at the urging of hospital administrators like Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth.  Edwards has called for a statewide Stay-at-Home order.   Hear KSMU's interview with Edwards on what his hospital system needs in order to be ready for the outbreak here.

According to Springfield Public Schools, the school district will continue to provide free meals for children at schools across the district.  See our news about that here.

A news release issued by the Greene County Commission further clarifies “essential activities” to mean:

·         To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), or close personal acquaintances, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.

 

·         To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or close personal acquaintances, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, groceries and essential household goods and products, such as cleaning and personal care products, and other products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.

 

·         To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Physical Distancing Requirements as defined herein, such as, by way of example and without limitation, biking, walking, hiking, or running.

 

·         To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business (as defined in the Order) or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order, including Minimum Basic Operations, as defined herein, at Non-Essential Business.

 

  • To care for a family member, close personal acquaintance, or pet in another household.