Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and the Greene County Commission extended separate, but similar Stay-at-Home Orders until 11:59 p.m. May 3. The current orders put in place to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 were set to expire at 11:59 p.m. April 24.
The extended orders are effective immediately and contain an amendment allowing businesses which sell at retail, including those which otherwise do not qualify as an essential business, to take orders by telephone, online or by any other ordering system in which the order is not made in person. The amendment also allows these businesses to fulfill orders by shipping, delivery or curbside pickup. Previously, only those business deemed essential were able to operate in this manner.
Businesses providing personal services, such as auto detailers, pet groomers and hair and nail salons, are still not allowed to open other than to fulfill orders by shipping, delivery or curbside pickup. The reasoning is the high level of touching and personal contact involved with these types of service delivery.
Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard said this “half step” toward reopening more businesses will allow slow and steady progress without sacrificing key progress made in suppressing the spread of the virus, which has caused the deaths of eight people in Greene County and 92 confirmed cases.
“A measured approach to stepping out of the current Stay-At-Home order does more than continue to stop the spread of the disease," said McClure. "It does so, while allowing us to assess the impact of each step, in terms of case rate, hospital capacity and our community’s ability to have solid data from more extensive testing. Timing is important. The problem with stopping when things start to seem good is that a relapse can happen and many times, it is worse. I recognize that knowing when the time is right and exactly how to transition back is key. But I have faith in the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and also in our community. We will continue to solve this together."
Goddard said reopening must occur with ultimate regard for maintaining life and reducing death rates, while balancing the need to restart the economy. Regional considerations and impacts will be made throughout reopening.
“A stepwise approach to reopening the community must occur to balance health and economic needs,” Goddard said. “Throughout the process, there will be close monitoring to inform steps forward or backward.”
He will provide additional information in a briefing Wednesday morning.
“We are relieved to be at a place today that shows some evidence of success," said Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon. "It is important to note, however, this is not evidence that the actions and measures taken to this point were unnecessary. As we enter the recovery phase in Greene County, we need to hold steady to the collaboration and selflessness that has taken us to this point. We are here because Greene County citizens have been looking beyond themselves, helping their neighbors and thinking of others, rather than simply thinking of the loss of some conveniences. That level of commitment will need to continue in the coming weeks as we ease into the next phases.