Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) Director Stephanie Browning issued Public Health Order 2020-20 and 2020-20(c). These orders go into effect at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on March 4, 2021, and will expire at 11:59 a.m. on March 24, 2021, unless extended, rescinded or modified prior to such expiration.
Below are the modifications to the Order.
- All gatherings or gathering places are limited to 50 people, including both public and private gatherings, unless otherwise specified in the Order. Social distancing requirements and/or face mask requirements must be observed. (The previous order limited gatherings to 20 people.)
- Any large group gathering or event held at a business or institution open to the public is limited to 50% of the authorized occupancy or a maximum of 200 people. (This was changed from the previous maximum of 100 people.)
- Restaurants, bars and entertainment venues may resume normal operating hours, subject to the operational requirements set forth in the order. (Closing time was midnight in the previous order.)
- Bar service and buffet service are allowed with social distancing and face mask requirements observed by patrons. Any patron ordering at the bar, visiting the buffet or otherwise moving about the premises is required to wear a face mask at all times. (Bar and buffet services were not allowed in the previous order.)
- Entertainment facilities are limited to 200 individuals, provided an Operational Plan meeting the minimum requirements is submitted and approved by the Health Director. (The previous order listed 100 total individuals.)
- At child entertainment facilities and arcades, capacity shall be limited to 100 children with the total capacity limited to 200 individuals, provided an Operational Plan meeting the minimum requirements is submitted and approved by the Health Director. (The previous order listed 50 children and 100 total individuals.)
- For indoor sports, the spectator area for any sport is limited to 50% of the occupancy based on the applicable fire code or 100 people maximum, whichever is less. For outdoor sports, the spectator area is limited to 50% of the occupancy or 200 people maximum, whichever is less. (Indoor and outdoor sports were grouped together in the previous health order.)
- Personal care services are limited to social distancing occupancy and must follow face mask requirements except when necessary to provide services for which social distancing or a face mask are not possible.
- Guidance for disinfection has been altered in this order to reflect FDA recommendations. This includes the removal of guidance requiring disinfection of shared items in between each use. Regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces is still required.
Boone County continues to see a steady decrease in the number of COVID-19 infections. As of Feb. 28, the five-day rolling average number of new cases had decreased to 17. This is a decrease of 68% from Feb. 7, when the five-day rolling average was 53 new cases per day.
“We remain hopeful that infections will continue on the decline with the modifications to the Health Order, but it’s important for our community to continue with the COVID protocols– social distancing, masking and handwashing– that have shown to be effective in controlling the spread of COVID-19,” Browning said.
PHHS continues to work with local and state health officials to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. The state has approved residents in Phase 1A; Phase 1B, Tier 1 and Phase 1B, Tier 2 to be vaccinated. The state has announced that Tier 3 eligibility will open March 15, 2021. While vaccine supply remains limited, PHHS, Boone Hospital Center and MU Health Care are working together to distribute vaccine information. The three entities are encouraging residents to fill out the following survey to express their interest in obtaining the vaccine: muhealth.org/form/covid-vaccine-survey. Anyone with questions or needing help completing the survey should call 573.771.CARE (2273).
Residents who have already completed the survey do not need to fill it out again. Anyone who has already received the vaccine is encouraged to opt out of other lists they are signed up for. To opt out of the joint PHHS, Boone Hospital Center and MU Health Care survey, visit muhealth.org/covid19-vaccine-opt-out or call 573.771.CARE (2273).