City of St. Louis adds new business restrictions to combat coronavirus, including closing late-night bars and limiting capacity

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Photo by Erin Achenbach

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, left, goes for the inaugural ride on the St. Louis Wheel during a media preview day of the Wheel, Tuesday, Sept. 24. Photo by Erin Achenbach.

The city of St. Louis will implement similar business restrictions to combat the coronavirus as those set by St. Louis County weeks ago.

Mayor Lyda Krewson and Dr. Fredrick Echols, the acting director of the Department of Health/Health Commissioner for the city of St. Louis, announced Wednesday that they will implement additional public-health and safety measures starting Thursday to “protect the community at large and combat an ongoing resurgence of COVID-19 cases.”  The restrictions will stay in place until Sept. 7.

Under the new orders:

1. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs will be limited to 50 percent of their permitted capacity and will close by 11 p.m. That differs from the county restrictions, which shut down all bars at 10 p.m. and limited every business to 25-percent capacity. The city has shut down bars such as The Wheelhouse that have not been enforcing social distancing or masks.

2. Large venues will reduce their capacity to 50 percent or less of their permitted occupancy and shall continue to comply with the Guidance and Protocols for Cultural Institutions/Destinations & Attractions/Large Venues.

3. All businesses will encourage employees and volunteers to quarantine or isolate if they have or are believed to have COVID-19 or if they have come into contact with individual(s) with COVID-19. All businesses shall encourage employees and volunteers who have been tested for COVID-19 to self-quarantine until they receive their test results.

4. Any business that closed as a result of an enforcement action or to protect the public’s health may conduct activities necessary to perform the following activities: maintain the value of a business’s inventory, provide security, process payroll or employee benefits, or to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely provided that such activities do not further endanger the public’s health.

In the city and the broader St. Louis metropolitan area, there has been a “sustained increase in the percentage of the number of people testing positive” for the virus, city officials said in the announcement.

The seven-day moving average of COVID-19-related hospital admissions in the region has increased from less than 20 in July to more than 40 during August. Additionally, over the last month, individuals in their 20s and 30s have represented more than 50 percent of the new positive cases in the city.

“We continue to see an increase in positive cases in the City of St. Louis, particularly among young people who often times show no symptoms. And while they might not always have the underlying health conditions that can land them in the hospital for an extended period of time, they still present a significant risk of infecting others,” Krewson said in the news release. “Our intent here is to ensure the maximum number of people and businesses take prudent precautions to reduce the exposure to, and slow the spread of, COVID-19.”

A full copy of Order No. 13 can be found on the city’s COVID-19 website. Previous orders also remain in effect.

Individuals, businesses, and/or entities with questions about these measures should contact RestartStLouis@stlouis-mo.gov.