Missouri Issues Stay at Home Order

Following a number of local orders, including those in the St. Louis and Kansas City regions, on April 3, 2020, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a statewide “Stay Home Missouri” Order which takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 6 and lasts through at least 11:59 p.m. April 24, 2020. 

Update: On April 16, 2020, Governor Parson announced an extension of the Missouri stay-at-home order, discussed below, until May 3, 2020.

On April 27, 2020, Governor Parson announced that the first phase of Missouri’s economic recovery plan, known as “Show Me Strong Recovery” will begin on May 4, 2020, following expiration of the Missouri stay-at-home order, and continue until May 31, 2020. During phase one of the plan, people can begin to return to economic and social activities but must adhere to social distancing requirements. Also, all businesses can be open, subject to the social distancing guidelines and additional precautions set forth in the new health order found here. This order establishes the minimum requirements for the state, but local authorities may enact and enforce more restrictive requirements for businesses and individuals.

Pursuant to the order:

  • all individuals must avoid leaving their homes or place of residence;
  • when individuals need to leave their homes or places of residence to work, access food, prescriptions, health care and other necessities, to engage in outdoor activity, or to go to or from a place of worship, they should at all times practice social distancing, including maintaining six feet of space between individuals;
  • all individuals must avoid social gatherings of more than ten people, subject to certain exemptions;
  • all public and charter schools must remain closed for the duration of the order, except for the provision of food and nutritional services to children that qualify; and
  • all state office buildings are closed to the public, except for the State Capitol Building during meetings or proceedings of the General Assembly.

The order reiterates the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ prior March 21 order, which implemented school closures and social gathering restrictions, and additionally directs individuals to avoid eating or drinking at restaurants, bars, or food courts, provided that the drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed, and prohibits visitation to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes, unless to provide critical care.

Business Exceptions – Essential Functions, Social Distancing and Social Gathering Restrictions

The order incorporates the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (available here) as it relates to essential worker functions. Businesses that employ individuals to perform essential worker functions and are engaged in retail sales to the public must limit the number of individuals in any particular retail location as follows:

  • Twenty-five percent or less of the entity’s authorized fire or building code occupancy, as set by legal authorities, for a retail location with less than 10,000 sq. ft.; and
  • Ten percent or less of the entity’s authorized fire or building code occupancy, as set by local authorities, for a retail location with more than 10,000 sq. ft.

Workers who perform essential functions are not subject to the social distancing requirement if their job duties require closer contact. Otherwise, the social distancing requirements apply in all situations, including when customers are standing in line or when individuals are using shared indoor or outdoor spaces when outside their residence.

Businesses that do not employ individuals to perform essential functions must adhere to social gathering limitations and social distancing requirements, although they may also request a waiver from the limitation on social gatherings. Notwithstanding the closure of schools required by the order, day cares, childcare providers and schools may continue to provide child care for working families in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Compliance Issues

The order may be enforced by state and local health authorities pursuant to RSMo 192.290. The order does not limit other orders implemented by local authorities. Additionally, the order does not prohibit or restrict the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transportation, storage, display or use of firearms or ammunition during the declared state of emergency.

The full text of the order is available here. The prior March 21 order is available here, and additional Q&A regarding the March 21 order is available here.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lewis Rice has formed a COVID-19 Task Force which brings together subject matter authorities from various practice areas within the Firm who stand ready to assist our clients as they navigate these challenging and evolving issues. If you need assistance with compliance, please contact one of the authors above or another member of the Task Force.