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City lays out guidelines for reopening businesses

CITY HALL – The city has laid out its plan for reopening businesses and other public activities, with leeway for changes in procedure and/or timing depending on the course of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Fredrick Echols, the city’s health director, issued the guidelines Friday on the city’s website,

He stated: “Further phases of relaxation or modification of this guidance will be determined based upon health data, experience,
continued developments in testing and treatment, and ultimately, the availability of a vaccine.”

Reopening is to begin when four criteria have been met:

  1. Decreased transmission of the virus is noted. That means when hospital admissions for the virus have dropped for seven straight days, or when there is “consensus opinion that the COVID-19 transmission rate is adequately suppressed.”
  2. Hospitals aren’t overwhelmed and can adequately care for all their patients.
  3. Everyone who has symptoms can be tested at a hospital or testing site.
  4. Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine can be done effectively.

As we reopen, people will have to maintain social distancing of at least six feet, and wear face masks in public closed spaces – such as public transportation – or when they might encounter others, even outdoors. Handwashing, cleaning and sanitizing are still important, as are staying at home as much as possible and watching for symptoms.

No more than 10 people can gather; and we shouldn’t visit facilities for older adults or the homes of vulnerable family members or friends.

Businesses must do their best to keep employees and customers at least six feet apart. “Retail establishments must comply with the State of Missouri’s order regarding capacity,” the statement reads.

Businesses are encouraged to post signs, offer hours exclusively for vulnerable people and consider staggered works shifts and working from home. Staff should wear face masks and also gloves “where appropriate.” Cleaning and sanitizing should be done regularly.

Echols’ statement provides additional, specific guidance for certain business categories such as offices, hotels, restaurants, bars and gyms. Venues such as ballrooms and banquet and meeting rooms remain closed for the moment.

Personal care businesses such as hair salons and tattoo parlors, and taxis and ride-sharing operations, also have certain additional requirements, as do churches and child care centers.Parks,

Parks are open unless problems with social distancing occur. But playgrounds, sports courts and pools will stay closed, and stadiums also.

The Zoo, the Aquarium, the Arch, the Science Center, museums,
the Stifel Theatre, the Fox, the Pageant and similar venues are closed at least until “specific operating plans are submitted to and approved by City of St. Louis Department of Health.”

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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