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

Legal Updates

On May 8, acting director Emily Doucette issued a Public Health Order, adopting the Missouri Show-me Strong Recovery Order dated April 27, 2020. Under the new order, certain businesses will be able to reopen, and individuals may resume certain activities prohibited under previous St. Louis County Stay-At-Home Orders. This order takes effect on May 18, 2020, and remains in effect until rescinded or amended. 

Under the new order, certain nonessential businesses may resume operations. 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: 

  • Frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces;
  • Reasonable breaks for employees and volunteers to wash their hands; 
  • Training regarding the disinfection and social distancing requirements;
  • Face masks or materials to make face masks; and 
  • Daily screening of employees and volunteers for symptoms of COVID-19.

Employers must require employees to wear face masks unless they are working alone in an enclosed area. Employers must also encourage any employee showing symptoms of or having come into contact with someone with COVID-19 to isolate.

Certain businesses directly open to the public may resume operations as well; however, they must limit 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. These businesses must also arrange for: 

  • Physical barriers between customers and employees where possible, or ensure a distance of six feet;
  • Markings that indicate a six feet distance for areas where individuals are likely to congregate or form lines;
  • A posted outline of the social distancing policy outside the facility;
  • Separate hours of operation for at-risk individuals where possible; and 
  • Contactless payment, pick-up and delivery when feasible with postings on the availability of these services.

These businesses must also prohibit outside containers from being brought in, which includes reusable shopping bags. 

Businesses may deny entry to anyone who refuses to wear a face mask for a non-medical reason. However, businesses may not require an individual to provide proof of their medical condition, but instead must provide an alternative method of pick-up for items such as medications, medical supplies or food.

The following businesses and venues are still prohibited from opening to the public: 

  • Entertainment, conference and sporting venues; 
  • Gyms and fitness centers;
  • Banquet rooms;
  • Bars and other businesses that primarily serve alcohol and not full meals;
  • Indoor and outdoor pools;
  • Sporting events, sports courts and playgrounds

Finally, under the order, the general public must continue to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer and practice social distancing. Although the order does not generally require face masks, the general public is encouraged to wear masks when in a closed public space, not able to maintain a six feet distance from others or on any public transit. 

St. Louis City’s Mayor, Lyda Krewson, also announced on May 5, 2020, that the City will begin a gradual reopening along with St. Louis County on May 18, 2020. No order had been published as of today.

Contact us

If you have further questions or require more information regarding this update, please contact Bob Tomaso, Daniel Fanning or your Husch Blackwell attorney.

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