For weeks many residents across the state of Missouri have been begging, almost demanding a ‘Stay At Home Order’ from Governor Mike Parsons.
That order was announced on Friday and enacted on Monday in an effort to control, contain and combat COVID-19. The order will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 24.
The order explicitly states that individuals currently residing within the state of Missouri shall avoid leaving their homes or places of residence unless necessary.
“First and foremost, I want everyone to know that I love this state and the people of this state,” Parson said in making the announcement from Jefferson City. “The people of this great state clearly define who we are in Missouri, and as governor, I have no greater responsibility than to protect the health, well-being, and safety of all Missourians.”
In order to protect public health and prevent the further spread of COVID-19, Parson’s order includes specific guidance for staying home and social distancing, and provides measures that businesses and employees, schools, restaurants, firearms dealer, and state government buildings must follow.
Several questions have come from this order such as: 1) How different is it from previous ‘Stay At Home Orders’ from the Lincoln County Health Department? 2) What does this order mean for a resident and/or businesses? 3) How will this order be enforced?
The language used in the order from the Lincoln County Health Department and the order mandated by the state are very similar.
While many individuals and businesses followed the LCHD order, many did not. The hope is that the weight of the Governor’s office making this order official will show how concerned everyone should be.
WHAT DOES THIS ORDER MEAN?
Among other guidelines, the order requires the following:
• Individuals currently residing within the state of Missouri shall avoid leaving their homes or places of residence.
• All individuals in the state of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than ten (10) people.
• All public and charter schools must remain closed for the duration of the order.
• Any entity that does not employ individuals to perform essential worker functions, as set forth in guidance provided by the federal government, shall adhere to the limitations on social gatherings and social distancing.
• Any entity that employs individuals to perform essential worker functions, and that is engaged in retail sales to the public, shall limit the number of individuals in any particular retail location as follows:
• Twenty-five (25) percent or less of the entity’s authorized fire or building code occupancy, as set by local authorities, for a retail location with square footage of less than ten thousand square feet (10,000 ft.);
• Ten (10) percent or less of the entity’s authorized fire or building code occupancy, as set by local authorities, for a retail location with square footage of ten thousand square feet (10,000 ft.) or more.
The order does not prohibit Missourians from accessing essential services, such as grocery stores, gas stations, and banks, or engaging in outdoor recreation, provided that necessary precautions are taken and maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including observing the social gathering and social distancing requirements set forth in the Order.
State officials held a phone conference with County, City, Police, Fire and Emergency Management executives on Saturday to answer questions.
According to Gov. Parsons, the enforcement would be left upon local officials to decide what is best for their county or municipality.
While the Missouri National Guard has been mobolized, they are there for planning per Gov. Parsons.
Elsberry Mayor Steve Wilch has been working closely with LCHD and will be following their lead on how enforcement is to be handled.
The order shall be observed throughout the state and enforced by all local and state health authorities. Local public health authorities are directed to carry out and enforce the provisions of the order by any legal means.
One thing many businesses have already done is limited the amount of people within their stores, especially grocery and retail. Also, curbside service and delivery has been widely used by numerous businesses.
“There comes a time when we have to make major sacrifices in our lives. Many of us make sacrifices each and every day, but now more than ever, we must all make sacrifices,” Parson said. “This is not about any one individual person. This is about our families, friends, neighbors, and the entire state of Missouri. For the sake of all Missourians, be smart, be responsible, and stay home, Missourians,” said Parsons.