St. Louis Leaders Enact Stay at Home Orders Effective March 23, 2020

This alert has been updated to include details on the Jefferson County and St. Charles County stay at home orders that were issued after its initial publication.

Following a similar statewide order from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, on Saturday, March 21, 2020, St. Louis county and city elected officials issued “Stay at Home” orders that will take effect on Monday, March 23, 2020. 

The intent of the orders is to preserve public health and safety using self-isolation to slow the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible, while still enabling residents to obtain essential services. The specific requirements of, and exceptions to, the orders are described in further detail below.

St. Louis County

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19) Stay at Home Order (the “County Order”) sets forth a number of restrictions, including the following:

  • all individuals must stay at their place of residence (including hotel and motel rooms, shelters or similar facilities, but not including common areas) unless engaging in an “Essential Activity;”
  • gatherings are prohibited outside a residence, an “Essential Business” or while engaging in an Essential Activity, except for gatherings among members of a single household;
  • all travel except “Essential Travel” and travel necessary to engage in Essential Activities is prohibited;
  • all businesses other than “Essential Businesses” must cease all activities except “Minimum Basic Operations” or work from home; and
  • when outside their residence for any reason, all individuals must maintain social distancing consistent with the County Order’s prescribed Social Distancing Requirements.

Additionally, the County Order specifically prohibits any gathering of ten or more people in a single space or room, unless otherwise specifically permitted by the County Order.

“Social Distancing Requirements”

Pursuant to the County Order, any person who is outside their residence must reasonably comply with the following Social Distancing Requirements (which may be supplemented by future orders):

  • maintaining at least a six-foot social distancing from other individuals,
  • washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol,
  • covering coughs or sneezes with something other than hands,
  • regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and
  • not shaking hands.

Individual Exceptions - “Essential Activities” and “Essential Travel”

A person may be outside their residence to engage in Essential Activities, meaning specifically activities that are necessary for a person to do the following:

  • act or perform tasks essential to the health and safety of a person or their family, household members, or pets;
  • obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family, household members, or pets, or to deliver them to others;
  • engage in Essential Travel;
  • shop for grocery products, food, beverages, or other household and consumer products;
  • engage in services or perform work necessary to operate or maintain essential infrastructure;
  • engage in outdoor activity to the extent reasonably consistent with the Social Distancing Requirements;
  • participate in religious services to the extent consistent with reasonable compliance with the Social Distancing Requirements and gathering size limitations;
  • acts consisting of providing products and services to a residence, Essential Business, or to maintain Minimum Basic Operations;
  • activities at open construction sites, subject to applicable OSHA and other safety guidelines, and related architectural, design, and land surveying activities, so long as the people involved reasonably comply with the Social Distancing Requirements to the extent consistent with applicable safety guidelines;
  • necessary care for a dependent in the person’s legal custody, including acts essential for a parent with legal custody to transfer the physical custody of a child;
  • care for a family member in another household;
  • engage in essential government functions;
  • engage in healthcare operations;
  • exercise constitutional rights to the extent that by so acting the person does not endanger the public health and safety or the health and safety of any person;
  • acts consisting of providing essential products and services to federal, state or local government; or
  • act or perform tasks approved pursuant to an order of the Director of the Department of Public Health.

Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from the “stay at home” directive, and individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe (such as victims of domestic violence) are permitted and urged to leave their home to stay at a safe alternative location.

Individuals are also permitted to engage in Essential Travel necessary to serve any of the following purposes:

  • travel related to Essential Activities, essential government functions, essential infrastructure, Essential Travel, Essential Businesses, Minimum Basic Operations, or healthcare operations;
  • travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable or high risk people;
  • travel to an Essential Business to purchase goods or services;
  • travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services;
  • travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction;
  • travel required by court order;
  • travel required by directions from law enforcement personnel with authority; or
  • travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside St. Louis County.

Business Exceptions - “Essential Businesses” and “Minimum Basic Operations”

Essential Businesses may continue their operations, so long as they comply, to the maximum extent possible, with the Social Distancing Requirements for both employees and members of the public; these businesses include the following:

  • operations relating to the delivery of healthcare (specifically excluding fitness and exercise gyms, esthetician services, tattoo parlors, tanning facilities, spas, massage facilities or similar facilities);
  • essential infrastructure;
  • essential government functions;
  • establishments engaged in the retail sale of, or providing, food and household consumer products;
  • businesses that engage in food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • businesses that engage in food production, manufacturing, processing, packaging, wholesaling, storage, warehousing, or distribution;
  • businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, or other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or people otherwise in need of social services;
  • newspapers, television stations, radio stations, and other media services;
  • gas stations, auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
  • banks, financial institutions, broker-dealers, asset managers, businesses that process payroll for any other business, and businesses that process financial transactions and services;
  • trash collection and disposal;
  • hardware stores;
  • inns, hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast establishments;
  • plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, communication, and essential operations of residences, healthcare operations, essential infrastructure, essential government services, Essential Activities, or other Essential Businesses;
  • businesses that perform construction services;
  • businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • educational institutions for purposes of facilitating distance learning, provided that the Social Distancing Requirements are maintained to the greatest extent possible;
  • businesses providing private security services in accordance with applicable laws;
  • laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • funeral homes, crematoriums, cremation, burial, mortuary services, and cemeteries;
  • churches, religious services, and other spiritual practices but only to the extent consistent with reasonable compliance with the Social Distancing Requirements and gathering size limitations;
  • storage for Essential Businesses;
  • restaurants and other facilities that prepare or serve food, but only in compliance with applicable orders of the Director of the Department of Public Health;
  • businesses that provide emergency repair and safety services for essential infrastructure;
  • businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
  • businesses that supply Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
  • businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, beverages, goods, or services to residences or other Essential Businesses;
  • non-profit organizations to the extent that the organizations are providing financial or social support for people and businesses that are impacted by COVID-19;
  • businesses that manufacture or supply products necessary to meet the Social Distancing Requirements;
  • businesses that provide personal and transportation services necessary for Essential Activities;
  • businesses or agencies providing public transportation or paratransit;
  • businesses that provide home-based care for the health of seniors, adults, or children;
  • residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, or children;
  • defense and national security-related operations supporting the federal government or a contractor to the federal government;
  • professional services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or to assist a person in the exercise of constitutional rights;
  • businesses and agencies that provide and help to determine eligibility for basic needs;
  • adoption agencies;
  • labor union essential activities;
  • professional services, when related to the necessary activities of Essential Businesses; and
  • businesses or independent providers that provide childcare or other dependent services but only to the extent that they provide services to people who are necessary employees of Essential Businesses, provided that they take reasonable actions to comply with the Social Distancing Requirements, and provided that (i) childcare must be carried out in stable groups of twelve or fewer; (ii) children shall not change from one group to another in the same day; (iii) if more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room and groups shall not mix with each other; and (iv) childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children in the same day.

Businesses that do not qualify as an Essential Business are nevertheless permitted to engage in business activities consisting of employees or contractors performing activities from home, as well as “Minimum Basic Operations,” meaning the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of a business’s inventory, provide security, process payroll or employee benefits, or to facilitate employees being able to continue to work remotely from home.

City of St. Louis

Essential Activities

Like its counterpart in St. Louis County, the “Stay Home – Essential Activities Only Order Health Commissioner’s Order No. 5” from the City of St. Louis (the “City Order”) provides that City residents must remain at home except as needed for the following essential activities:

  • to perform tasks essential to the health and safety of individuals, their family, household members and pets;
  • to obtain or deliver necessary foods, services or supplies for themselves, household members or others necessary to maintain safety and sanitation;
  • outdoor walking or exercise provided they maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person; and
  • going to work where allowed by the City Order.

Social Distancing Recommendations

The City Order provides that, in all cases, individuals must adhere to social distancing recommendations that include maintaining at least six feet from other individuals, and individuals should adhere to preventive recommendations that include washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, not shaking hands, and staying home if they feel ill.

Business Exceptions

In general, the City’s order permits all businesses to maintain the value of inventory and infrastructure, provide security, process payroll or employee benefits, or facilitate employees working remotely, but requires businesses to cease all other activities. However, the following businesses, not-for-profits and institutions are exempt from this requirement:

  • healthcare facilities and businesses that produce or provide medical care, supplies or medicine (but not including fitness centers or gyms, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, salons, barbershops, nail salons or similar establishments);
  • grocery stores, convenience stores, or other establishments engaged in the retail sale of food or other household consumer products;
  • restaurants and bars, but only for pickup/curbside/carry-out/take-out/delivery;
  • businesses, not-for-profits, or institutions that ship or deliver groceries, food, or goods;
  • businesses, not-for-profits, or institutions that provide food, shelter, utilities, social services, or other necessities;
  • food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • food and beverage wholesaling, storage, warehousing, and distribution businesses;
  • newspapers, television, radio and other media;
  • gas stations, vehicle-supply, vehicle-repair, and related facilities;
  • banks and financial institutions;
  • hardware stores;
  • businesses, not-for-profits, or institutions providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • laundromats and laundry service providers;
  • transportation services including rental, taxis and rideshares;
  • home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • facilities and shelters for adults and children;
  • long-term care facilities, including hospice;
  • hotels and other commercial lodging;
  • professional services (e.g. accountants, lawyers, engineers);
  • construction;
  • childcare facilities providing services to first responders, and all emergency personnel;
  • manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for exempt businesses;
  • federal, state, and local government; and
  • such other businesses as the City’s Director of Health & Hospitals/Health Commissioner specifically designates.

The County Order can be found here, and will go into effect as of 12:01 a.m. on March 23, 2020 and will be in place until 11:59 p.m. on April 22, 2020, but will not be enforced with respect to any person travelling to or at their place of business on March 23, 2020 so long as they reasonably comply with the applicable Social Distancing Requirements. Additionally, the City Order that can be found here, and will go into effect as of 6:00 p.m. on March 23, 2020 and will also be in place until 6:00 p.m. on April 22, 2020.

Jefferson County Order

Individual Exceptions - “Essential Activities”

Pursuant to the Jefferson County Executive Order Number 20-030.3 and Health Director Order 1 (the “Jefferson County Order”), individuals living in Jefferson County must remain at home and limit all unnecessary travel except as needed for the following essential activities:

  • performing tasks essential to the health and safety of a person or their family, household members, or pets;
  • obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves and their household members, or others to maintain safety and sanitation;
  • walking outdoors or exercising, provided individuals maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person; and
  • going to work where allowed.

Business Exceptions - “Essential Businesses” and “Minimum Basic Operations”

The Jefferson County Order provides that all businesses are allowed to maintain certain minimum basic operations, namely to maintain the value of inventory and infrastructure, provide security, process payroll or employee benefits, and facilitate employees working remotely, but must cease all other activities. The Jefferson County Order exempts the following businesses from this requirement, some of which differ from other stay at home orders in the St. Louis area:

  • any business deemed essential as defined by the Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency;
  • healthcare facilities and businesses that produce or provide medical care, supplies or medicine (but not including fitness centers or gyms, massage parlors, salons, barbershops, nail salons or similar establishments);
  • grocery stores, convenience stores, or other establishments engaged in the retail sale of food or other household consumer products;
  • restaurants and bars, but only for pickup/curbside/carry-out/take-out/delivery as set forth in Executive Order 20-030.2 and Jefferson County Health Department Ordinance 20-03-18-01;
  • businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, or goods;
  • businesses that provide food, shelter, utilities, social services, firearms dealers or retailers, or other necessities;
  • food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • food and beverage wholesaling, storage, warehousing, and distribution businesses;
  • newspapers, television, radio and other media;
  • gas stations, vehicle-supply, vehicle-repair, and related facilities;
  • banks and financial institutions;
  • hardware stores and building trade supply stores;
  • businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • laundromats, laundry service providers, cleaning and janitorial services;
  • transportation and motorized equipment and vehicles services including manufacturing, sales, repair, rental, taxis and rideshares;
  • home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • facilities and shelters for adults and children;
  • long-term care facilities, including hospice;
  • hotels and other commercial lodging;
  • professional services (e.g. accountants, lawyers, engineers);
  • construction, trade and infrastructure (e.g., building management and maintenance, plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems, etc.);
  • childcare facilities providing services for children of health providers, government employees, first responders, and all emergency personnel;
  • manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for exempt businesses;
  • federal, state, and local government;
  • other small or solo business with 10 or less total employees including management and owner(s), but not including fitness centers or gyms, massage parlors, salons, barbershops, nail salons or similar establishments;
  • funeral homes, crematoriums, and other memorial and after-life service providers; and
  • any other exceptions specifically designated by the County Executive or the Director of Health.

St. Charles County Order

Individual Exceptions - “Essential Activities”

The St. Charles Order of the County Executive 20-06 (the “St. Charles County Order”) requires every person in St. Charles County, including incorporate and unincorporated areas, to remain within their residence or on the property surrounding their residence, except to engage in the following activities: (i) activities they deem essential to their physical, mental and spiritual well-being, or (ii) employment. In each case, individuals must comply with prudent social distancing and disease mitigation advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the St. Charles County Department of Public Health.

Requirements for Places of Public Accommodation

Unlike the other orders in the St. Louis area, the St. Charles County Order does not define essential businesses. Rather, the St. Charles County Order notes that local retail stores and all other places of public accommodation, as defined in Executive Order 20-03 must communicate social distancing requirements to customers. Under that order, a “place of public accommodation” means a business or an educational, refreshment, entertainment, or recreation facility, or an institution or any kind whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public.

The Jefferson County Order can be found here, and took effect as of 12:01 a.m. on March 24, 2020 and will be in place until 11:59 p.m. on April 23, 2020.  Additionally, the St. Charles County Order can be found here. It also took effect as of 12:01 a.m. on March 24, 2020 and will expire only upon further order from the St. Charles County Executive and Department of Public Health.

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 your regular Lewis Rice attorney.  We stand ready to assist our clients as they navigate these challenging and evolving issues, and will continue to monitor the various legal and other developments that may impact their operations.