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Everything you need to know about Missouri's reopening plan

The Economic Reopening Health Order is in effect until May 31 for Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Phase 1 of Missouri’s Show Me Strong Recovery Plan begins on Monday.

This plan will not affect St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis as of now. Both areas remain under stay-at-home orders until further notice by their local officials. This means – although other places across the state may reopen, nothing changes for St. Louis County or the City of St. Louis.  

Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about the plan from the state’s website:

How long is the Economic Reopening Health Order in effect?

The Order is in place through Sunday, May 31. The Order will be reevaluated before it expires, and may be further restricted, less restricted, or extended in the current form.

Does this order prevent me from receiving non-emergency health care, 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 6 feet.

Medical providers should develop and implement public health and safety measures for employees and patients, using this site 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.

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.

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, drive-ins, funerals, museums, school graduations and weddings.

How do these guidelines apply to childcare facilities?

Day cares, childcare providers, or schools providing childcare for working families can continue operations, but should follow the CDC guidance targeted for those operations

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 the state’s General Guidelines for Business.

Businesses that were considered “non-essential” by the federal government may resume operations in Missouri in accordance with the Order and these guidelines.

How will this order be enforced?

Missouri 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.

What if my job requires me to be within 6 feet 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 6 feet.

Businesses and employees should work together to implement public health and safety measures for employees and customers, using this site 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.

What enhanced precautionary measures could be taken to mitigate the risks of contracting or spreading COVID-19?

Businesses and employees should work together to implement public health and safety measures for employees and customers, including employee use of personal protective equipment if available, in addition to any guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Strict social distancing and sanitation protocols are also encouraged.

Employees should continue to practice good hygiene, especially if their job duties require contact with other people closer than 6 feet. Furthermore, elderly or otherwise vulnerable populations should minimize travel to the extent possible and avoid socializing in groups that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.

Businesses and citizens are encouraged to continue utilizing delivery services, such as grocery pick-up and/or delivery options, to minimize interaction between people.

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% or less of the authorized occupancy;

• For larger locations (10,000 square feet or greater), they must maintain 10% 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.

These restrictions do not apply to restaurants or hotels.

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 this site as a guide, in addition to any guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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

Examples:

• 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.

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 sanitation measures for facilities and participants.

The state said it advises areas of high touch or high traffic, such as playgrounds, remain closed.

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"Missouri’s businesses, communities and citizens have made significant changes to their ways of living and have shown their resilience during these challenging times. State information and federal guidance show that a strategic reopening of Missouri’s economy can only be successful if we take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of a COVID-19 resurgence.

These guidelines are meant to empower you with the critical information you’ll need for a successful and safe reopening. We are in this together, and by working together, we will come out better and stronger than ever before," Gov. Parson said.