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St. Louis City Issues Order to Begin Reopening Some Nonessential Businesses

Legal Updates

On May 11, St. Louis City Health Commissioner Fredrick Echols issued Order No. 8, adopting the Phase I Reopening Standards and Guidance, along with various exhibits relevant to the opening of certain industry groups. This order takes effect on May 18, 2020, and remains in effect until rescinded or amended.
Under the new order, certain nonessential businesses may reopen, but all businesses must limit any gatherings in any one location to 10 people or less and comply with social distancing requirements. Additionally, all business must make arrangements for: 

  • Employee training on the disinfection and social distancing requirements;
  • Signage about masks and social distancing requirements for employees and customers;
  • Face masks or materials to make face masks for employees;
  • Reasonable breaks for employees and volunteers to wash their hands; 
  • Hand sanitizer at building openings for the public;
  • Cleaning as recommended by the CDC;
  • Frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces; and 
  • Daily screening of employees and volunteers for symptoms of COVID-19.

All businesses must require their employees to wear face masks unless they are working alone in an enclosed area, or outside and able to maintain social distancing. Retail establishments must also follow the capacity restrictions listed in the State’s Order, which limits the number of people at a particular location to 25% of the authorized capacity under the local occupancy code for businesses with less than 10,000 square feet, or 10% of the authorized capacity under the local occupancy code for businesses with more than 10,000 square feet. Although not required, the guidance states that businesses should consider:

  • Installing physical barriers between customers and employees;
  • Installing markings to increase compliance with social distancing;
  • Separate operating house for high-risk individuals;

Additionally, specific guidelines for the reopening of industry groups are located in various exhibits for:

Under Phase I, the following businesses and venues are still prohibited from opening: 

  • Ballrooms, Banquet rooms, Meeting rooms;
  • Gyms and fitness centers;
  • Casinos
  • Schools
  • Sports Stadiums
  • Cultural institutions/Destinations & Attractions/Large Venues

Finally, this order requires the general public limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer and practice social distancing. The order does not require face masks in public, but recommends wearing masks when in public closed spaces, outdoors where six feet cannot be maintained, or on public transit.

Contact us

If you have further questions or require more information regarding this update, please contact Bob TomasoDaniel Fanning or your Husch Blackwell attorney. Visit our Missouri and St. Louis County pages for additional information and updates.

COVID-19 Return-to-Work Resource

For the many businesses that partially or completely shuttered their on-site operations due to government-mandated COVID-19 orders, transitioning employees back to the workplace is an unprecedented and complex endeavor. Husch Blackwell’s Return-to-Work Resource Center provides best practices, answers to common questions and potential issues to consider.


Robert J. Tomaso

Office Managing Partner

Daniel A. Fanning