JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson outlined the first phase of the state's plan to reopen on May 4, giving guidance for small and large businesses, including retail and restaurants.
Parson said local officials will be able to establish their own regulations and ordinances as long as they are consistent with the statewide order.
That means people who live in St. Louis and St. Louis County will continue to follow the local stay-at-home orders until local leaders lift them.
"They can do stricter guidance," Parson said during a Monday afternoon news conference. "They can’t be more relaxed, but they can do stricter."
During phase one of the state's reopening plan, which was inspired by the plans laid out by President Trump's administration, people may begin returning to work and social activities, but must adhere to social distancing requirements, including maintaining at least 6 feet of space, Parson said.
"There are currently no limitations on social gatherings as long as necessary precautions are taken," according to a release from Parson's office.
Included in the businesses that will be able to open: small and large businesses, manufacturers, barbershops and salons, gyms and restaurants. Some workers will be required to wear personal protective equipment if it is not possible to maintain proper social distancing.
Some businesses will have to take additional precautions, which may include occupancy limits. According to the health order, retail businesses that are under 10,000 square feet will need to limit the number of people to 25% or less of the occupancy, as set by local authorities. Businesses that are 10,000 square feet or larger will be limited to 10% occupancy.
Restaurants may resume dine-in services if they follow social distancing guidelines, according to the order. Tables must be 6 feet apart and no more than 10 people may sit at a single table.
Parson said people can go back to church and "worship in whatever environment they wish," as long as they maintain social distancing.
He also urged Missourians to "use common sense" and avoid going out if they do not feel safe.
In St. Charles County, the county executive had not yet decided if he would add measures to the governor's new order or allow businesses in the county to open accordingly next Monday, a spokeswoman said.
Laura Andert, who owns Laulie Cakes on Main Street in St. Charles, said she planned to continue curbside pick-up despite the loosening of restrictions.
She's a diabetic and has a compromised immune system, she said.
"I probably will still keep the public out of my store until I feel like myself that the numbers have gone down," she said. "Even in keeping the 6-foot distance in our store, we'd probably only be able to have two or three people in there total."
But she is eager to get her employees back to work. She said her business did not qualify for PPP funding.
Parson's office said all businesses are encouraged to do the following:
- Implement basic infection prevention measures informed by industry best practices
- Modify physical workspaces to maximize social distancing
- Minimize business travel
- Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan
- Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider
- Encourage telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations
- Return to work in phases and/or split shifts
- Limit access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact
- Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance
The health order said school buildings must email closed for the remainder of the school year, but districts may still provide meals. However, summer school may proceed under guidelines set forth by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The order does not prohibit daycare, child care facilities or schools from providing child care "in accordance with CDC guidelines."
Under the order, state office buildings will be open to the public "as practicable" and essential state functions will continue.
The order will take effect on May 4 at 12:01 a.m. and expire on May 31 at 11:59 p.m.
For more information, visit ShowMeStrong.Mo.Gov and click here for the Show-Me Strong Recovery Plan: Phase 1.
The full public health order issued on April 27: