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Hours extended, gatherings expanded: The 5 restrictions St. Louis County loosened

Several of the changes will be welcome news as temperatures begin to get warmer and more people want to hang out outside

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — One year and a day after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the St. Louis area, county officials announced they’re again loosening restrictions that affect just about every resident in St. Louis County.

County Executive Sam Page shared the county is making five changes to its coronavirus restrictions. Several of them will be welcome news as temperatures begin to get warmer and more people want to hang out outside.

The five changes announced Monday are:

Business hours extended

All businesses can remain open until midnight. The previous curfew was 11 p.m. Carryout and delivery services are not affected by this restriction.

The City of St. Louis announced the same change Monday afternoon. Mayor Lyda Krewson said bars and restaurants in the city also can stay open until midnight.

Gathering limits expanded

Gatherings can include up to 20 people indoors and 30 people outdoors. Gatherings were previously limited to 10 people.

“This includes birthday parties, reunions and barbecues,” Page said. “With these gatherings our public health experts recommend that people from not more than three households gather at either indoor or outdoor private residential events.”

Event center capacity increased

Indoor banquet facilities and conference centers can operate at up to 25% capacity as long as they follow the same health and safety protocols as restaurants, including spacing of tables and wearing masks when not seated. Previously, these facilities were limited to 50 people regardless of capacity.

Outdoor events changes

Outdoor events and facilities can have up to 50% capacity as long as social distancing can be maintained. Facilities or events that could have more than 500 people based on the 50% capacity should have their plan approved by the county health department. Page added that the department may ask to review plans for any event, even those with fewer than 500 people, if there are concerns safety restrictions can’t be followed.

Sporting venues restrictions eased

All sporting venues with spectator seating can submit a plan to health department to open. Previously, most venues were held to a limit of two spectators per participant.

The loosened restrictions begin Monday.

A full look at the new event planning guidelines can be found on St. Louis County's website.

After going from a high of about 800 new COVID-19 cases a day back in November to about 100 new cases a day now, Page credited the hard work of county residents for allowing health officials to continue the reopening process.

“Cautious reopening of St. Louis County is possible because so many of our residents have worn masks, limited gatherings, stayed home as much as possible and respected the space of others,” Page said. “The more we continue to do that the safer we can be.”

For more information about how you or a loved one can get on a registration list near you, follow our full COVID-19 vaccine registration coverage here.

RELATED: Here's how you can get in line for the COVID-19 vaccine