Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Missouri, US, to lift most business restrictions starting May 4. Social distancing orders to remain in place.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • St Louis, Missouri
  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Columbia-Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Joplin, Missouri
  • Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 19:17 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Missouri (map)
  • Time/Date: Through at least May 31
  • Impact: Travel, transport, and business disruptions

Summary
Missouri Governor Michael Parson has issued a new executive order to lift most business restrictions in the state starting May 4, while maintaining social distancing orders and encouraging residents to stay home to the extent possible, as part of the state's response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order, which is set to expire May 31, allows for businesses to reopen provided they comply with social distancing mandates. Certain businesses will also be required to implement additional measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as performing temperature checks, enhancing sanitation procedures, maximizing physical distance between workers, monitoring employees for symptoms, and minimizing business travel, among other things.

Retail establishments having less than 930 square meters (10,000 square feet) of floor space must limit the number of patrons allowed inside at any given time to 25 percent of the facility's capacity; retail establishments with 930 square meters (10,000 square feet) or greater floor space must limit the number of patrons to 10 percent of the facility's capacity. Restaurants may provide dine-in services provided maintain proper distance between customers, limit tables to a maximum of 10 people, and close communal seating areas. In-person lessons at public schools are canceled for the remainder of the academic year.

Local authorities may impose stricter restrictions if they consider it is necessary to protect the public health. Authorities in Kansas City and Saint Louis plan to keep their respective municipalities' stay-at-home orders in place through at least May 15.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the remaining measures. Officials could amend the orders at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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