CITY HALL – Downtown and the rest of St. Louis will be a safe place to celebrate this holiday weekend, Mayor Tishaura Jones assures residents. Last weekend, a rowdy crowd rampaged along Washington Avenue, even jumping onto a police car and dancing on it. Numerous residents complained to city officials, saying the antics had been frightening.
Interim Public Safety Director Dan Isom sketched out pubic safety tactics for this holiday weekend, as follows:
- The Summer Cruising Detail (SCD) will patrol Downtown from 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. to enforce traffic laws, redirect traffic, and block off key streets with a high concentration of visitors and residents.
- The Summer Violence Detail (SVD) will patrol all areas of the city from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., with a concentration around Downtown and parts of north and south St. Louis where calls have been most frequent. The SVD will also serve as backup to the SCD as needed.
- Fire, Excise and Building Commissions will also be on hand to monitor potential violations from businesses and other locations.
The city and the Sheriff’s Office are negotiating how sheriff’s deputies will back up police in patrolling Downtown.
The mayor is planning and the Downtown Neighborhood Association are planning a virtual meeting with Downtown residents next week to discuss long-term safety strategy.
“The people closest to the problem should be closest to the solution,” Jones said in a statement. “We know that people of St. Louis want to feel safe, and any plans we set in motion must address their concerns as proactively as possible. Our goal is to prevent any potential illegal activity before it escalates to injury or harm.”
Meanwhile, the city health department is reminding residents and visitors of ways to stay healthy and safe now and all summer.
Dr. Fredrick Echols, the city’s acting director of health, acknowledged the significance of the Memorial Day weekend as “a special time to remember those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military.”
But he went on to note that it’s also the unofficial beginning of summer.
“Numerous public health threats need to be on our mind,” he said, “including water play and waterborne pathogens, food preparation and consumption, sun exposure, mosquito control and driving – and this year, COVID-19.” Echols urged everyone to adhere to health and safety recommendations.
• Always supervise children and use the buddy system even for adults around water.
• Shower before swimming in a pool.
• Have children take bathroom breaks regularly and wash hands with soap and water before returning to the pool. If any feces escape into the pool, everyone should get out.
• Don’t swallow pool water; bacteria can make you sick.
• Always wear life jackets when boating, and even while swimming for people who are not proficient swimmers.
• Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and for ready-to-eat items such as vegetables or bread.
• Keep perishable food cold until it is ready to cook.
• Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum temperatures.
• Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse utensils that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.
• Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours; cut that time to one hour in weather above 90 °F.
• When outdoors use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 or higher, to avert skin cancer. Make sure the sunscreen protects against both ultraviolet (UV) A and ultraviolet (UV) B.
• Wear a hat or other head covering, long sleeves and pants, and sunglasses.
• Drain standing water around your home and yard.
• Wear long sleeves and long pants when going outdoors.
• Avoid being outside at dawn and especially dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Use an EPA-approved insect repellent.
• Always wear your seatbelt while in a vehicle.
• Properly install children’s car seats, and use them.
• Do not drink and drive or drive while intoxicated; designate a non-drinking driver.
• On public transportation, including buses, trains and planes, face masks are still required.
People both vaccinated and unvaccinated should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing and face mask recommendations.