Local Public Health Orders to Continue Limiting Business Activities after Missouri’s Statewide Restrictions End on June 16, 2020

On June 11, 2020, Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced that the state will reopen fully on June 16, 2020. As of that date, there will be no statewide health order in effect, and all statewide restrictions – including the occupancy capacity limitations on retail businesses, the 10-person per table limits in restaurants, and the visitor ban to nursing homes – will be lifted. 

Local governments such as St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis, however, continue to restrict certain business activities. For example, as discussed in our prior Client Alert, under the Amended Business and Individual Guidelines issued on June 1, 2020 by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, which remain in effect, all retail facilities, personal service facilities, gyms and fitness centers, restaurants and bars, religious services, and public water recreation facilities remain subject to occupancy capacity limitations. 

St. Louis County Department of Public Health also issued additional guidelines for entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, arcades, and bowling alleys, which become effective on June 15, 2020. Entertainment venues in St. Louis County remain subject to local occupancy capacity limitations in addition to a host of other requirements, including face coverings and symptom screening requirements for customers and guests, and continued compliance with social distancing requirements and cleaning and disinfection protocols. 

St. Louis County Department of Public Health also published guidelines for recreational facilities and banquet and conference centers which become effective on June 15, 2020. Under these guidelines, banquet and conference centers operating in St. Louis County will be subject to occupancy capacity limitations, 10-person per table limitations, and daily health screenings of employees (but not customers or guests), among other requirements. 

As of the date of this Alert, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page previewed in a press conference that the County will further ease restrictions over the next several weeks. For example, capacity restrictions will be increased to 25% on all businesses and industry sectors beginning on June 15, 2020, and further increased to 50% on June 29, 2020. In addition, beginning on June 29, 2020, St. Louis County will be eliminating the 10 person or less gathering size limitations for all businesses. Crowd sizes will thereafter be dictated entirely by the fire code applicable to each business facility. Businesses may voluntarily elect, however, to limit crowd sizes within their facilities up to a maximum of 50% capacity. Examples of these types of gatherings include weddings, funerals, and reunions. There will be no gathering size limitations on outside events, except for capacity limits otherwise applicable to certain park pavilions. Special events, such as concerts and art fairs, will need to obtain specific approval from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.

If you have questions regarding any local health department orders that may be affecting your business operations, please reach out to one of our Labor and Employment attorneys.