Social Distancing | St. Louis Public Radio

Social Distancing

St. Louis-area businesses remain closed as the coronavirus pandemic drags on. Weeks of reduced income, or none at all, has stretched small businesses thin.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly all businesses in Illinois will be able to reopen in some capacity on Friday as the whole state moves into its next phase of reopening following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order in March.

For businesses in the Metro East, the wait is over, after feeling pressure to reopen when their counterparts in Missouri could weeks before them.

The state issued guidelines and requirements for how businesses in the retail, manufacturing, fitness, office, restaurant and personal care sectors will be able to safely reopen.

Updated July 4, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET

It has been months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But given that coronavirus cases continue to surge in many places, what's safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

Sarah Young reopened her salon in Creve Coeur this week, but customers at Sola Salon must come in one at a time and follow strict safety rules, including wearing a mask and having their temperature taken. Week of 5/22/20
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Sarah Young’s salon in Creve Coeur sat empty for almost two months. But this week, after stay-at-home orders were lifted, she reopened her booth at Sola Salon with back-to-back appointments.

Young is eager to see her regular customers again, but business is far from normal. 

Clients are required to follow new safety protocols. That includes sending a text upon arrival and waiting in the car until Young is done sanitizing. Only one client is allowed inside at a time, and they must wear a mask, have their temperature taken and sanitize their hands.

Students, such as these at Ashland Elementary School in St. Louis, will need to maintain a lot more personal space than they did back on Jan. 7, 2020, if schools reopen in August.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s now a template for how in-class learning will look once schools reopen in Missouri. Complying with it all will require some complicated geometry.

The Missouri School Boards’ Association’s Center for Education published a nearly 100-page guidebook for schools on how to operate while navigating a pandemic. It calls for more cleaning and hygiene while eliminating or curtailing in-school activities like choir, recess and gym class, as well as many after-school ones.

Taken on 4-22-20 amid local stay at home order
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:40 p.m. , May 6, with comment from St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

St. Louis and St. Louis County will start easing up on coronavirus public health restrictions on May 18, allowing businesses to reopen with some restrictions.

Any St. Louis County businesses wanting to reopen will be required to make its employees wear face masks. County Executive Sam Page announced that mandate at a Wednesday morning press briefing. He plans to release more details and rules in the coming days.

A sign off Highway 44 points to Union, Missouri, where some businesses will be allowed to reopen Friday. 4/23/2020
Kayla Drake

While Missouri is still under a stay-at-home order, Franklin County plans to allow certain businesses to reopen starting midnight Friday. 

Golf courses, movie theaters, concert halls, gyms, exercise studios, bowling alleys and skating rinks are included in the reopening. The majority of these businesses have been closed since March 24

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.