St. Louis County extended the COVID-19 curfew for restaurants and bars Monday to 11 p.m. from 10 p.m., a move that will give those struggling businesses one more hour to take reservations at 25-percent capacity.
When County Executive Sam Page first announced a stay-at-home advisory and indoor dining ban in November, restaurants and bars could only offer curbside and takeout and had to close at 10 p.m.
Restaurants reopened for indoor dining Jan. 4 with new requirements on masking and Plexiglas along with customers signing in to help with contact tracing, but have still been limited to closing at 10 p.m. to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The new curfew went into effect at 6 a.m. Monday, Page announced at a briefing he held Sunday afternoon. He said the decision was made after consulting with restaurant owners who are members of the county’s Restaurant Advisory Group that is advising the county Department of Public Health on how to safely keep restaurants open.
So far, the later curfew is the one current restriction that Page is willing to lift, he said at the briefing. A “Safer at Home” stay-at-home advisory requesting that everyone stay home unless they have to leave for work, school or something necessary is still in effect.
“We believe the proper measures are in place at these businesses to allow them to stay open a bit longer,” Page said. “Our restaurants say this will significantly increase their reservation capacity and make it easier for them to recover from this pandemic. … We appreciate continued input from our advisory groups that help us look at ways to gradually reopen our community while protecting employees and customers.”
Angela Schneider, one of the owners of KT’s Saloon in Oakville, said the restrictions have particularly affected KT’s because it is 10 minutes down Telegraph Road from Jefferson County, which has no restrictions. She was one of the bar owners testifying at a Missouri House hearing Jan. 26 on a bill proposed by Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Oakville, that would limit the ability of St. Louis County to enact public-health orders like the 10 p.m. curfew in a pandemic without permission of the Missouri Legislature.
The bar was cited for being open after 10 p.m. because Schneider decided to go ahead with live music, she noted.
“We are less than 10 minutes away from the nearest county that doesn’t have these same curfews or threats to their licensing,” Schneider said. Customers can either go to Jefferson County or come to KT’s and “they can come in, socialize for 10 minutes and then we have to kick them out,” she said.