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Youth sports, in-person learning, business capacity: St. Louis County announces COVID-19 changes

Restrictions on youth sports, in-person learning and business capacity are all changing this week in the county due to improvements in coronavirus cases

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County is easing up on several COVID-19 restrictions that likely affect just about everyone in the county.

County Executive Sam Page announced three major changes to guidelines:

  1. High-contact youth sports can resume, including football, ice hockey and basketball
  2. In-person learning is now recommended for high school students
  3. Business capacity is expanded to 50%

Page thanked St. Louis County residents for following the mask mandate and social distancing guidelines. He said those actions saved lives and helped get the community to where it is today.

Page said COVID-19 conditions are stable enough to roll back some of the restrictions, including the guidelines that kept high school football teams from competing. That’s now changing.

Schools that want to resume high school football games must submit a safety plan to the St. Louis County Department of Public Health starting immediately. Once reviewed and accepted, schools can resume games.

The plans must include screening, quarantining and isolation guidelines other youth sports already are following. They also need to include how fans and spectators will be managed along with a pledge to cooperate with contact tracing efforts.

Page’s announcement also included a recommendation for high school students to resume in-person learning. He said there have been improvements in COVID-19 rates and cases among the 15- to 19-year-old age group. The rate of new cases has declined along with the positivity rate. Page said more teens are getting tested, a trend that needs to continue.

He stressed this is a recommendation and not a mandate for schools and families.

You can watch Page's full briefing in the video player below:

Also, businesses will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. As of now, they’ve been limited to 25% of their normal capacity in the county.

Self-service drink and food stations in convenience stores and restaurants also will be allowed beginning Wednesday afternoon.

The late-night restrictions on businesses will continue to be in place.

Even with the loosening of restrictions, Page reminded residents this is not the time to let their guards down. He said masks and social distancing are still vital to help stop the virus from spreading.

“This is not a celebration and it’s certainly not a time to let our guard down,” Page said Monday, noting that the county will continue to follow the advice of medical experts.

He said if warranted, restrictions could be tightened again.

“And none of us want to see that,” Page said.

St. Louis County has posted more information about the updated guidelines on its coronavirus website.