Social Distancing | St. Louis Public Radio

Social Distancing

Rev. Matt Miofsky of The Gathering preaches to an empty church at the McCausland site. The congregation was tuned in, however, to an online worship service.
The Gathering

Over the past few weeks, local sites of worship have had to recalibrate how they serve their congregations during a time when coming together can do more harm than good.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced a 30-day stay-at-home order last weekend. The restrictions require people to remain in their homes whenever possible as part of an ongoing effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. There are a number of exceptions to the stay-at-home order, city and county officials said, but religious centers aren’t one of them.

Families and friends are finding alternative ways to connect in response to stay-at-home orders as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Heathzib | Flickr

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 forced mass social distancing — keeping friends and family members apart for the sake of their health — many seniors felt isolated, particularly those living in nursing homes and assisted living communities.

For those who were already lonely or isolated, things are likely to get worse in the months ahead, as caregivers find themselves overwhelmed and strained and as social distancing recommendations remain in place. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, right, at a press conference about some of the first public coronavirus precautions on Monday with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
Lisa Rodriguez | KCUR

Kansas City and St. Louis business and health care leaders have issued an urgent, blunt warning to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: Immediately order uniform social distancing across the state to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a formal letter obtained by KCUR, the leaders of 10 business and health care groups said they have consulted with medical experts across the state who advise that mandatory social distancing is essential to slow the COVID-19 spread. The letter, sent Thursday, asked Parson to make orders based on public health officials' advice and that Parson has to ensure that hospitals have the capacity to treat patients with life-threatening symptoms.

Painter John William Waterhouse depicts a scene from the frame story of Boccaccio's "Decameron."
Wikimedia Commons

When a plague swept 14th-century Florence, killing more than half the city’s population, wealthy Italians turned to social distancing. One small group’s retreat from a stricken city to a deserted villa became the backdrop for the classic novel “The Decameron.”

That novel is just one of the texts Rebecca Messbarger teaches in her Disease, Madness and Death Italian Style course at Washington University. But it has sudden resonance, she says — and relevance she never anticipated when she began teaching it a year ago.