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Springfield-Greene County Health Department News Releases

Posted on: March 24, 2020

Mayor McClure issues Stay-At-Home Order for Springfield

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and Greene County Presiding Commissioner – in consultation with Health Department Director Clay Goddard and health care system partners - issued a “Stay at Home” Order, requiring Springfieldians to stay at home except for “essential activities” as our community continues working to slow the spread of COVID-19. Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, health care facilities and government services are examples of those which will remain open. View Greene County’s Stay at Home Order here.

Under the emergency authority granted to the Mayor by City Code Sec. 78.132, McClure announced a second proclamation of civil emergency. The “Stay-At-Home Order” will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, March 26, 2020 and is set to expire in 30 days

“As community spread of COVID-19 continues throughout our region, we are taking aggressive action to flatten the curve and protect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. We are asking our entire community to unite to prevent the spread of this virus and appreciate everyone’s cooperation during this time,” McClure said.

The order requires Springfieldians to stay at home except for “essential activities” as our community continues working to slow the spread of COVID-19. Springfield residents should stay home unless they are engaged in one of the essential activities specified in the order, the Mayor said.

Essential activities include working in an essential business, obtaining supplies or necessary services, seeking medical care, caring for a family member or loved one, and exercising and maintaining personal health. Individuals are strongly encouraged to practice physical distancing to the extent feasible while engaging in these activities, and to stay home if not engaging in one of these specific activities.

“I have given thoughtful consideration to all of the intricacies of a Stay-At-Home order and after extensive review, it is my belief that the order, requiring us all to stay home, is the right thing to do, right now. We must stay the course and follow the direction of our respected Health Director and listen to the warnings and the wisdom of the medical leaders who have strongly encouraged these types of action,” McClure said.

“I understand the financial and emotional toll this virus has taken on our families and businesses, and we are working hard to create every opportunity possible to ease some of this financial burden.

But what’s really at stake here are people’s lives. Our lives. Our kids’ lives. There’s not a perfect line that rims the City of Springfield city limits. How we serve our entire region, especially the  health care that’s provided in our community reaches far beyond our city borders.”

McClure expressed gratitude for the Greene County Commission and Christian County Commission. Greene County’s Order is similar to Springfield’s and Christian County plans to vote on yet another similar ordinance Wednesday.

The order first limits what individuals can do to continue essential activities, which include working at essential businesses, going to pharmacies, getting gas, and physical caring for others.

It also defines a series of essential businesses, which are those that will be allowed to continue to operate. Nonessential businesses can continue minimal activities and must follow physical distancing requirements while they do that.

In general, the essential services are ones that people need to continue with any kind of safety and sanitation in their homes; groceries, gas, hardware stores, construction, vehicle repair and supply stores. essential functions that will keep a basic functionality within the City.

For purposes of this order, permissible “essential activities” means:

  • To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family and close personal acquaintances, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home;
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or close personal acquaintances, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, including food and household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
  • To assist in the preparation of food and drink for delivery and carry out, or to pick up food or drink for carry out.
  • To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with physical distancing guidance, by way of example and without limitation, walking, biking, hiking, or running;
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at an essential business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this order;
  • To care for a family member, close personal acquaintance, or pet in another household;

FAQ:

Why was this order issued?

The Stay-At-Home Emergency Order was issued to protect the health and safety of all residents of Springfield, with the goal of limiting the continued community spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. It was issued based on the guidance of public health experts, as well as consultations with area medical leaders about the consequences of continued community spread of coronavirus in the Springfield metropolitan region on health care availability and access.

How long is the order in effect for?
The new emergency order will take effect at 12:01 AM on Thursday, March 26, 2020 and will remain in effect through 11:59 PM on April 24, 2020. The order will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and may be modified as circumstances change based on guidance from public health officials and other experts.

What does this order require?
The order requires Springfield residents to stay at home unless they are engaged in one of the essential activities specified in the order. Essential activities include working in an essential business, obtaining supplies or necessary services, seeking medical care, caring for a family member or loved one, and exercising and maintaining personal health. Individuals are strongly encouraged to practice physical distancing to the extent feasible while engaging in these activities, and to stay home if not engaging in one of these specific activities.

Will residents be subject to penalties such as arrest or citations for leaving their homes?
Residents can leave their residences to engage in essential activities, including exercising and maintaining personal health (walking/bicycling/running/etc.), working at an essential business, obtaining supplies or necessary services, or seeking medical care. We strongly urge Springfieldians to stay at home if they are not engaged in any of these essential activities as this will greatly aid efforts to stop the community spread of COVID-19. That said, there are penalties of up to a $1000 fine and/or up to 180 days in jail.

Does my business qualify as an essential business as defined in the emergency order?
Major categories of essential businesses defined in the order include:

  • Health care (doctors, dentists, nurses, hospitals, pharmacies, medical research facilities, blood donation services, labs, etc);
  • Food and drink production and distribution (including grocery stores, markets, restaurants that offer food for carryout);
  • Sanitation (including laundromats, dry cleaners, household and business cleaning services and supply stores);
  • Transportation (including railroads, airports, public transit, taxis and other private transportation providers);
  • Auto repair and service, including gas stations and auto supply stores;
  • Financial Services (including banks, insurance providers, and professional services required to comply with legal and regulatory requirements);
  • Manufacturing and distribution of supplies and materials for essential businesses (including trucking and other supply chain support functions);
  • Maintenance and construction of infrastructure and households;
  • Building supply stores
  • Childcare;
  • Essential Government Operations;
  • Residential care facilities
  • Hotels and motels;
  • Media and Communications Providers; and
  • Mailing, Shipping, and Delivery services.

A full list of categories of essential businesses is provided in the order.

The City strongly encourages all essential businesses to allow employees to work from home and to maintain social distancing to the extent feasible in continuing to carry out their operations.

My business does not fall under one of the categories deemed essential, can it remain open if health precautions are taken? 
Non-essential businesses can continue operations that can be conducted from employees’ homes or places of rest. They can also continue minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory and facilities and to ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions, as well as minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences or places of rest, provided social distancing is maintained. Any operations that do not meet these requirements must be ceased.

Do businesses and/or employees need formal certification or identification that they qualify as an essential business and/or are employed at an essential business?
No.

I am unclear whether my business qualifies as essential or non-essential. Can I receive a formal recommendation from the City as to whether I qualify?
Currently guidance is available on a general (industry) basis and not a case by case (specific business) basis. We encourage all business owners to review the order in its entirety if they believe there is ambiguity about whether they qualify as essential or not. If you are unsure if you are an essential business, please call 417-799-1570, complete this form or email questions to essentialbusiness@springfieldmo.gov.

What are the penalties for non-compliance of this order?
Up to $1000 and up to 180 days in jail.

How will this emergency order be enforced?
The City has many mechanisms to enforce this order, including the Fire Marshal, Health Department, and the Police Department. This order will be enforced similarly to other business-related ordinances (building occupancy, health requirements for food preparation, etc.) and violators will be subject to fines and business closure orders, among other penalties.

Is construction activity classified as essential? 
Yes, public works, infrastructure (including commercial buildings), and commercial and residential construction are classified as essential. We strongly encourage construction businesses to carry out their work in compliance with physical distancing requirements and guidelines to the extent feasible.

Are manufacturing facilities classified as essential?
Any manufacturing operation that supplies goods necessary for the operation of other essential businesses (for example medical equipment, transport equipment, telecommunications equipment, supplies necessary to maintain or build infrastructure, sanitation and cleaning supplies, food or beverages, etc.) is classified as essential.

Are transportation providers, such as railroads, airports, buses, ride-share, taxis and truck drivers classified as essential?
Yes, transportation providers (Including railroads, airline and airport workers, and public transit organizations) are classified as essential. Additionally, maintenance providers (such as mechanics or bike repair shops) are also classified as essential, as are suppliers of parts needed to maintain the operations of transit providers. Truck drivers are also classified as essential.

Are hotels and motels classified as essential?
Yes.

Are home repair and maintenance services classified as essential?
Yes, home repair services including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and essential businesses are classified as essential.

Are childcare providers classified as essential? 
Yes. The City recognizes that many workers in essential industries need access to child care to continue to work. The order includes the following guidance for childcare providers and the City recommends that all providers follow this guidance to the extent feasible:

  1. Childcare should be carried out in stable groups, preferably with 10 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 10 or fewer children are in the same group each day);
  2. Children should not change from one group to another;
  3. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group should be in a separate room. Groups should not mix with each other; and
  4. Childcare providers should remain solely with one group of children.

Are realtors, leasing agents, building inspectors, and movers classified as essential?
Yes, realtors, leasing agents, building/housing inspection services, movers, and other services necessary to help people find or maintain housing are classified as essential. We strongly encourage all of these services to practice social distancing to the extent feasible and to limit unnecessary activities that can be deferred to a later date.

Are personal services, such as nail salons, hair salons, and tanning facilities classified as essential?
No, businesses that provide personal services are not classified as essential.

Are gyms, workout facilities, or golf courses classified as essential?
No, gym and workout facilities are not classified as essential. However, individuals are encouraged to use parks and exercise outdoors while they practice physical distancing. Golf courses are open, but one person per cart is recommended.

I work at an essential business but don’t believe I am an essential employee. Do I have to work?
The City cannot compel any individual to go to work, nor can it make determinations for essential businesses about which employees are essential and non-essential for carrying out its work. Essential businesses can continue standard operations provided social distancing is maintained to the extent feasible. Essential businesses are strongly encouraged to allow employees whose duties can be carried out from home to do so.

I own a business in an essential industry. Do I have to stay open?
The City cannot compel any business to remain open.

My business and/or my job has been impacted by the coronavirus, where can I go to get help?
A list of resources for businesses and employees related to the health impacts is located on the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.  The City of Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development can also answer questions about the resources available for both job seekers and employers. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has a resource page with advice on how to limit the potential economic and business impact of COVID-19.

The City, local philanthropies, and faith-based organizations are actively working on additional support measures and will add to information currently provided at HelpOzarks.springfieldmo.gov.

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For more information, visit Springfieldmo.gov. Media Inquiries Only: City of Springfield’s Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or cscott@springfieldmo.gov

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