Springfield and Greene County officials announced on Thursday the first phase of a reopening plan after weeks of ordering residents to stay at home.
The first phase has a 21-day order that will go into effect Monday. The measures allows gatherings of up to 15 people, reopens most businesses, allows churches to conduct “drive in” services and even gyms to allow people to work out again.
“Our strategies have worked,” Springfield-Greene County Health Department head Clay Goddard said at the press conference. “This is solid public health science applied in a way that successfully prevented disease spread.”
The new measure will allow businesses like barbers, nail salons, beauty salons, and other business that require close contact between provider and customer to reopen as long as masks are worn by all participants in the transaction.
However, while gyms can open, fitness classes and yoga is still prohibited because of the close contact that takes place in those environments.
Goddard also explained why places like bars, nightclubs, and concert venues continue to be closed.
“When it comes to communicable disease we’re concerned with two things: density and intensity,” Goddard said. “Density refers to the number of people in a single space and intensity is how close and how often those people interact…mass gatherings top out both scales.”
Goddard revealed that the Health Department is working to bring their own testing online by mid-May, allowing them to test known contacts of positive cases even if they are not showing symptoms. While not available to the general public, it will allow the Health Department the opportunity to proactively mitigate the spread of the virus.
Churches and other religious groups will be allowed to meet under the order with the following restrictions:
- Motor vehicles are parked in every other parking spot or at least 9 feet apart.
- Participants do not interact physically with clergy, staff, or participants in other vehicles.
- No one exits a vehicle at any time while at the service.
- Participants, clergy and staff remain at least 6 feet apart from one another at all times, except participants that are part of the same household.
- Restrooms are closed except for emergencies.
Businesses that will not be allowed to open include:
- Entertainment, movies, concerts and other live performances, dancing, billiards and pool;
- Exhibitions and museums;
- Contact sports, fitness or other classes, playgrounds;
- Religious services except as permitted below;
- Conferences and seminars;
- Bars, nightclubs and brewery taprooms.
Here is the city’s full order:Recovery20Order20Phase20I_202004300956072794
Here is the county order:Stay_at_Home_Order_extension_4_21