Greene County Commission Votes to Extend Stay at Home Order With Business Friendly Change

The Greene County Commission held an emergency session Tuesday morning to extend their stay at home order for county residents with one major change aimed at helping local small businesses.

Greene County Commissioner Bob Dixon introduced what he called a “step down measure”, allowing businesses that sell “non-essential” items the opportunity to sell their goods provided they can take orders online or via phone, and can deliver their goods either through shipping or curbside delivery.

The amended stay at home order would be in effect until May 4.

The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner John Russell voting against the measure because he felt the County should take the “full step” of allowing non-essential businesses to open with restrictions on the number of customers inside the store and requirements for social distancing.

“It’s a balancing act,” Commissioner John Russell said. “Certainly glad to see the half step and I think we’re certainly there. I would prefer to see a full step, something close to the Governor…the difference being non-essential businesses can be open under the Governor’s order with…some restrictions.”

Russell said despite the no vote, he would support the passed measure.

Presiding Commissioner Dixon said the half step was developed after discussions with other county commissioners and Greene County municipal leaders as a way to lead into the recovery phase.

“This would at least get all of the businesses operating that are currently deemed non-essential provided they can do curbside service,” Dixon said.

Commissioner Harold Bengsch backed the half step out of concerns that should the reopening go too fast, leading to a second wave of the virus, it could bring more economic harm to the community.

“I think moving into the recovery phase is going to be very critical to a long-term success,” Bengsch said. “The very last thing I think we would want to see happen is to have a…first step backfire on us with a sudden resurgence. I’m not sure how our economy could or would respond to a second resurgence of this virus. I believe what is before us here is a very conservative yet justifiable first step in leading to what [Commissioner Russell] would prefer.”

“It is incumbent on us to not move too fast,” Bengsch concluded.

Bengsch told Russell that he agrees with Russell’s position but the concern he mentioned makes him support the half step measure at the current time.

A press event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. with Springfield officials where it’s likely Springfield Mayor McClure will announce a similar measure.

Here is the Commission’s actual order:

GCCStayAtHomeOrderApril21

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