Missouri Governor Parson released information yesterday afternoon regarding the initial recovery phase for our state. This Order establishes the minimum requirements that must be complied with statewide. Our agency and local authorities are able to enforce more restrictive public health requirements for businesses or individuals depending on the current COVID-19 threat/evaluation of our county.
Pike County’s Stay-At-Home Order expires on Thursday, April 30th at 11:59 p.m. Once this order has expired, residents are encouraged to follow state guidelines of the Stay Home Missouri order and Show-Me Strong Recovery Plan. Even though the state is “opening” this does not mean we are immune to this virus and we should continue to practice social distancing, proper hygiene and other preventative measures to keep our numbers low. We are all ready to get back to “normal” but we need to ensure we are doing so with much caution.
Missouri’s initial recovery phase begins May 4, 2020, and during this phase we can gradually start to reopen economic and social activity. This will be a deliberate process, and is flexible to adapt to the situation. Some communities may be able to reopen at a faster rate, while others may need to continue restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. During this time, we should limit our activity and interactions and continue to maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene to protect our neighbors and ourselves.
SHOW-ME STRONG RECOVERY PLAN: PHASE I
GUIDELINES AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Missouri’s economic recovery plan will focus on the diversity of Missouri – its people, businesses, communities, and infrastructure, among others. A strategic “re-opening” of Missouri’s economy will not be successful without proactive steps taken to mitigate risk of COVID-19 resurgence by our state’s businesses, communities, and citizens.
While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued guidance on what the federal government considers “essential businesses,” Governor Parson believes that ALL of Missouri’s businesses and employers are vital to our state’s economy and individual well-being.
General Guidelines to Reopen Missouri’s Economy
During Phase I, we can gradually start to reopen economic and social activity. This will be a deliberate process, and is flexible to adapt to the situation. Some communities may be able to reopen at a faster rate, while others may need to continue restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. During Phase I, we should limit our activity and interactions and continue to maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene to protect our neighbors and ourselves.
The plan to reopen the economy and get Missourians back to work is based on ensuring a healthy workforce by:
- Flattening the curve and expanding healthcare capacity, while utilizing federal programs and deploying state resources;
- Making decisions based on Missouri-specific data and medical expertise;
- Protecting healthcare workers, first responders, and other direct care workers so that our citizens have access to the care they need;
- Looking after our most vulnerable and at-risk populations;
- Partnering with community leaders and incorporating flexibility based on each community’s circumstances;
- Slowing and containing the spread of COVID-19; and
- Implementing a measured approach to mitigate risk of a resurgence.
The ability to reopen Missouri’s economy rests on both our healthcare system and our healthcare suppliers. Together, we will accomplish the following goals:
- Rapidly expand testing capacity and volume in the state, including testing for those who are currently contagious and those who have developed immunity to the virus;
- Expanding reserves of personal protective equipment (PPE) by opening public and private supply chains, and continuing to utilize Missouri businesses in that effort;
- Continuing to monitor and, if necessary, expanding hospital and health care system capacity, including isolation and alternate care facilities for those that cannot self-quarantine at home; and
- Improving the ability to predict potential outbreaks using Missouri’s public health data.
General Guidelines for Missourians
- Citizens who feel sick should stay home
- Continue to practice good hygiene, including:
- Washing hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces;
- Avoiding touching your face;
- Sneezing or coughing into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow; and
- Disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
- Avoid socializing in groups that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing (receptions, trade shows, etc.). When in public (parks, outdoor recreation spaces, shopping malls, etc.), individuals should maximize physical distance from others.
- Minimize travel to the extent possible.
General Guidelines for Business
- Prepare to implement basic infection prevention measures informed by industry best practices, regarding:
- Protective equipment;
- Temperature checks;
- Testing, isolating, and contact tracing; and
- Sanitation, including disinfection of common and high-traffic areas (entrances, breakrooms, locations where there is high-frequency employee interaction with the public/customers).
- Modify physical workspaces to maximize social distancing.
- Minimize business travel.
- Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan, including policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
- Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
- Develop, implement, and communicate about workplace flexibilities and protections, including:
- Encouraging telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations;
- Returning to work in phases and/or split shifts, if possible;
- Limiting access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact; and
- Ensuring that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance.
General Guidelines for Communities
- Closely monitor and track the containment, spread, and any resurgence of COVID-19, and adjust plans as necessary.
- Limit situations where citizens cannot maintain social distancing.
- Facilitate widespread testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic citizens.
- Work to protect the most vulnerable populations.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Under guidance from the federal government, we are considered an “essential business.” How does this order affect me?
This order applies to ALL Missouri businesses. Businesses that are categorized as “essential” by the federal government should continue current operations, and incorporate our General Guidelines for Business outlined above.
Businesses that were considered “non-essential” by the federal government may resume operations in Missouri in accordance with the Order and these guidelines.
What if my job requires me to be within six feet (6’) of another employee and/or customer?
The social distancing requirements do not apply to individuals performing job duties that require contact with other people closer than six feet (6’).
Businesses and employees should work together to implement public health and safety measures for employees and customers, using the above direction as a guide, in addition to any guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under these conditions, businesses such as barber and cosmetology shops, hair salons, and tattoo parlors are allowed to operate.
Gyms and hotel swimming pools can also open if they adhere to strict social distancing and sanitation protocols.
Are there restrictions on businesses?
Yes. Workplaces that are engaged in retail sales to the public must limit the number of customers in each retail location to the following standards based on the workplace’s fire or building code occupancy:
- For smaller locations (less than 10,000 square feet), they must maintain 25 percent or less of the authorized occupancy;
- For larger locations (10,000 square feet or greater), they must maintain 10 percent or less of the authorized occupancy.
Employees at the workplace and vendors delivering products into the store are not included in this calculation and do not count toward occupancy limitations.
Are grocery stores considered a business “engaged in retail sales to the public?”
Yes, and such stores are subject to the occupancy limitations in the Order.
Grocery stores are strongly encouraged to set aside hours, outside of regular store hours, to allow third-party grocery delivery services to provide grocery shopping services for their customers. This will allow individual shoppers to shop during regular store hours, and reduce congestion during such times. This will further allow such services to function in an environment where their services may be in excessive demand.
Shoppers at all retail stores are also encouraged, when possible, to limit the number of people shopping in stores to one person per household at any one time. This will better enable all families to access necessary goods in grocery stores, and further reduce the number of individuals necessary to access such goods.
My local jurisdiction does not have a building or fire code. Do the limitations on square footage apply to my retail business?
Yes. If your business is not subject to fire or building code occupancy limitations set by your local jurisdiction, you should calculate your occupancy limits based on the following formula:
For a business with a retail location less than 10,000 square feet:
- Building Square Feet divided by 30 = Quotient
- Quotient x .25 = Occupancy Limit
For a business with the retail location of 10,000 square feet or more:
- Building Square Feet divided by 30 = Quotient
- Quotient x .10 = Occupancy Limit
- A 40,000 square foot grocery store would be able to have 133 customers in the store at any one time.
- An 8,000 square foot retail store would be able to have 66 customers in the store at any one time.
My local fire or building code occupancy limitation calculation is lower than that allowed for businesses without any fire or building code limits, or is lower than a neighboring jurisdictions fire or building code limitations. Can I apply the same formula for calculating occupancy for my business as those without a code?
Yes. You may use either the calculation set forth above for businesses without a fire or building code occupancy limitation, or the calculation applied to your business based upon your specific local jurisdiction fire and building code occupancy limitation, whichever is greater.
- My 30,000 square foot retail business has a local jurisdiction fire or building occupancy limitation of 700 people. Using the formula allowing only 10% of the local jurisdiction, I would be able to have 70 customers in my store at any one time. For an identical business without a local fire or occupancy limitation, they would be able to have 100 customers in their store at any one time. Under this guidance, you may have up to 100 customers in your store at any one time.
- My 6,000 square foot retail business has a local jurisdiction fire or building occupancy limitation of 150 people. Using the formula allowing only 25% of the local jurisdiction, I would be able to have 37 customers in my store at any one time. For an identical business without a local fire or occupancy limitation, they would be able to have 50 customers in their store at any one time. Under this guidance, you may have up to 50 customers in your store at any one time.
My business has a public waiting room with congregate seating. Should I limit access to it?
Implementing a system where customers/citizens can wait inside their vehicles prior to entering the business is strongly encouraged, as are pre-scheduled appointments to minimize interaction between people. In situations where this is not feasible, such as public transit, medical offices, and parks, entities should develop public health and safety measures using the above direction as a guide, in addition to any guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Does this order prevent me from receiving non-emergency healthcare, such as a routine eye exam or dental care?
Medical providers, such as dentists and optometrists, may provide usual services at their discretion. The social distancing requirements do not apply to individuals performing job duties that require contact with other people closer than six feet (6’).
Medical providers should develop and implement public health and safety measures for employees and patients, using the above direction as a guide, in addition to any guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Implementing a system where patients can wait inside their vehicles prior to entering the office is strongly encouraged, as are pre-scheduled and spaced out appointments to minimize interaction between people.
May restaurants open their dining rooms?
Yes. In concert with the Missouri Restaurant Association, we are strongly encouraging restaurants to prioritize public health and safety by implementing measures including, but not limited to, regulating self-serve options such as salad bars and buffets, using disposable menus, and employee use of personal protective equipment if available. Tables and seating shall be spaced out according to social distance requirements.
The continued use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is encouraged.
Food court establishments may operate, but the social distancing and communal seating requirements will prevent them from offering seating.
How do these guidelines apply to childcare facilities?
Daycares, childcare providers, or schools providing childcare for working families can continue operations, but should follow the CDC guidance targeted for those operations found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html.
May I attend service at my place of worship?
Yes. As long as the social distancing requirements are followed, places of worship are allowed to hold in-person services. Common practices that may occur with worship services, such as hand shaking and shared communion cups, should be avoided. Places of worship are also encouraged to continue use of alternative means of services through streaming services and other opportunities.
I am a member of a fraternal organization. Are we allowed to open our building and meet?
Yes. Fraternal organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and the Fraternal Order of Eagles may gather, but must adhere to the social distancing and communal seating areas requirements.
Will I still be able to participate in my local parks and recreation organized activities and/or camps this summer?
Yes. Traditional summer activities such as utilizing aquatic facilities, community centers, fitness centers, libraries, organized athletics, and camps offer a variety of recreational opportunities for Missouri citizens. If these services are offered, we encourage adjustments be considered to mitigate the risks of contracting or spreading COVID-19 between participants, patrons, and staff, such as limiting the number of participants, modifying activities, restructuring programs, and increasing sanitization measures for facilities and participants.
We also advise areas of high touch or high traffic, such as playgrounds, remain closed.
Can I attend an event at a large venue or stadium, or go to a movie theater?
Yes. However, seating shall be spaced out according to social distancing requirements.
This will apply to events such as amusement parks and attractions, concerts, funerals, museums, school graduations and weddings.
How will this order be enforced?
The State is working with local health authorities to support the order. Local health authorities and law enforcement maintain the same jurisdiction and authority they have always had.
Can my local health authority impose requirements that are more restrictive?
Yes. This Order establishes the minimum requirements that must be complied with statewide. Local health authorities may enforce more restrictive public health requirements for businesses or individuals.
The only exception is the Order from the Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services dated March 24, 2020, removing the authority of a local health authority from closing or restricting the operations of a business which is a part of the food supply, whether that be agricultural production, manufacturing, distribution, or sale of food. This limited waiver does not limit the authority of a local health authority from closing or restricting the operations of a retail food establishment.
How long is this order in effect?
The Order is in place through Sunday, May 31, 2020. The Order will be re-evaluated before it expires, and may be further restricted, less restricted, or extended in the current form.