Clubs, bars that flout public safety mandates draw rebuke

Clubs, bars that flout public safety mandates draw rebuke

CITY HALL – Young adults are the powerhouse now driving the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and their hangouts – specifically, clubs and bars – are getting a reality check.

Over the weekend, city employees dropped in informally at a dozen or more such venues, checking to see how well patrons and staff were practicing social distancing and whether everyone was wearing a face mask. Out of that dozen-plus, five are getting letters from the city letting them know that that can’t keep happening, Mayor Lyda Krewson said in her Facebook press conference Monday.

On Tuesday, she said on Twitter, “Thank you to all the small businesses out there doing a great job following our mask mandate to protect your staff and the public. There are lots of you. But we know not everyone is taking this as seriously. And they’ll be hearing from us.”

Krewson presented sobering facts about the surge in COVID-19 cases among people in their 20s and 30s. Of the city’s total cases since the virus struck in March, people in their 20s now account for about 20 percent and people in their 30s, about 17 percent.

Dr. Fredrick Echols, the city’s health director, reported that of 83 new cases confirmed on Saturday, 78 percent were in people of those ages. The daily total of hospitalizations is almost double what it was a month ago.

Krewson repeated her plea for everyone to obey the mandate to wear a face mask “all the time.”

“I understand,” she said, addressing young adults. “You’re invincible.” But she stressed that wearing the masks was “really important.”

She asked residents to let the city know if they see violations of the public safety orders, so officials can follow up – not to punish the venue, but to remind operators of the need for precautions and to help them get what they need to do that. 

“Normally what we do is bring [the violation] to the attention of the manager or the owner of the store or facility, and they usually come into compliance. Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying, ‘Hey. You know you’ve got to do this.'”

People can notify the city by phone at 314-622-4800; on Twitter at @stlcsb; or online at stlouis-mo.gov/government/dep

Along with the focus on young adults, Krewson discussed children. The “bars” they like to hang out at – monkey bars at playgrounds – are still off-limits and will stay that way, she said.
The reopening of schools in a few weeks is a key concern, and the mayor emphasized that educators and families will have to roll with the punches as the coronavirus dictates. Catholic and Lutheran schools have said they plan to open their buildings to students, but that may change; the city’s public schools will offer a variety of in-person and online learning, and that mix may change.
Several listeners asked about youth sports. The city never approved those programs to operate during the pandemic, and although St. Louis County did, County Executive Sam Page has re-imposed tighter restrictions as of Monday.

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