ST. LOUIS — The City of St. Louis is rolling back reopening plans due to a rise in coronavirus cases. The changes begin Thursday and specifically target younger crowds and where they gather.
In a news release Wednesday afternoon, the city cited an increase in the average number of new COVID-19 hospital admissions and the percentage of cases among young people.
"The seven-day moving average of COVID-19-related hospital admissions in the region has also increased from less than 20 to more than 40. Additionally, over the last month, individuals in their 20s and 30s have represented more than 50% of the new positive cases in the City," the news release stated.
Restrictions will impact restaurants, bars and large venues, which will have to limit their capacity back to 50%. As of Wednesday, businesses have been allowed to have up to 75% of their normal capacity.
Bars, restaurants and nightclubs also will have to close by 11 p.m.
“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,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The changes going into effect Thursday also offer some guidance for businesses on what to do if they have a COVID-19 case in the workplace. Employees and volunteers will be encouraged to quarantine or isolate if they have or might have the virus or if they’ve come into contact with someone who has tested positive.
“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,” Mayor Krewson said.
The changes are expected to be in place from Thursday, Aug. 13 - Monday, Sept. 7, which is Labor Day.
The city released the following guidance as an overview of the changes:
- Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs shall limit their capacity to 50% of their permitted occupancy or less and shall close by 11:00 p.m.
- Large venues shall reduce their capacity to 50% or less of their permitted occupancy and shall continue to comply with the Guidance and Protocols for Cultural Institutions/Destinations & Attractions/Large Venues attached to Order No. 9 as Exhibit 1.
- All businesses shall 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.
- 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.
The full order is available on the City of St. Louis’ website.
Mayor Krewson plans to discuss the changes during her regularly scheduled Facebook Live briefing Wednesday afternoon. You’ll be able to watch the briefing live in this story at 2 p.m. once it gets underway.
This is a developing story and will be updated.