St. Louis County Eases COVID-19 Restrictions For Businesses And Gatherings
St. Louis County is easing restrictions on businesses and gatherings that officials implemented earlier to help keep the coronavirus from spreading.
The changes come as coronavirus cases continue to drop in the St. Louis region, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Monday.
Effective immediately, the county will impose the following updated guidelines:
- All St. Louis County businesses can stay open until midnight for in-person service. The guidelines do not affect takeout and delivery options.
- Indoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people. Page said public health experts recommend gatherings be limited to people from three households for indoor and outdoor private residential events.
- Indoor banquet and conference venues can operate at up to 25% capacity. Venues will have to follow restaurant guidelines, and guests must wear masks when not seated.
- Outdoor events can operate at 50% capacity as long as people abide by social distancing guidelines and remain six feet apart. Outdoor events for more than 500 people will need approval from the county’s Department of Public Health. The department can ask to review any venue plan under 500 people if it is concerned that safety guidelines are not being followed, Page said.
- Sports venues with spectator seating can submit a plan to the county’s health department. The department must approve a plan before a venue can hold an event or hold daily operations.
“The cautious reopening of St. Louis County is made possible because so many of our residents have worn masks, limited gatherings and 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.”
Public health experts agree that restrictions on public gatherings likely have helped keep the coronavirus from spreading and reduced the number of positive cases.
People in the region should remain vigilant and keep following health guidelines as new variants of the virus continue to spread aggressively, said Dr. Faisal Khan, St. Louis County public health director.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Khan said. “We want to give as much of a leeway and concession as possible, but we have to remain cautious and watchful about what the virus can do next. The last thing we want to see is another surge in cases.”
The changes follow an announcement by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson that more vaccination events will be held in the St. Louis area starting this week.
Khan said the county will continue to examine COVID-19 case data over the coming weeks and months to determine how guidelines will change in the future.
“We are still in the midst of the pandemic,” Khan said. “Even as the vaccine is being rolled out and more and more people are being vaccinated every day, we are a long way away from being able to say, yes, now it’s OK for everybody to do as they please and gather indoors and outdoors in any number.”
Follow Chad on Twitter: @iamcdavis