UPDATED at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 29. Corrects date of Parson announcement and adds information from the Shelby County Health Department.
By Troy Treasure
Governor Mike Parson announced Monday, April 27 the outline of a plan to reopen Missouri.
The statewide stay-at-home order is due to expire Sunday, May 3. While the social distancing rule of maintaining 6-feet of separation between individuals will remain in effect, beginning Monday, May 4, Missourians will regain some freedoms.
Individuals will be allowed to return to work, attend indoor church services, dine inside restaurants and other eateries, and engage in social activities.
Under the plan, restaurants must have a minimum of six feet between tables, permit no more than 10 people at one table and not allow close gatherings at any table.
Funeral services have been green-lighted, as well as school graduations and wedding ceremonies, but attendees must adhere to social distancing.
Parson emphasized local officials still have the authority to extend the stay-at-home order should they deem it necessary.
Statement from Shelby County Health Department Administrator Audrey Gough:
Church services may resume the weekend of May 10, 2020. Churches and places of worship will need to adhere to the governor’s order of social distancing families by six feet from one another. That will probably mean one immediate family in a church pew/row.
Churches will need to look at seating capacity and number of people in their congregation and may need to look at adding more church service times in order that folks may attend without violating the social distancing rules. We would also suggest only having church services and not gather for Sunday School during the month of May. We can revisit this for the month of June based on our cases of the virus and how the orders might change after May 31.
I would also encourage keeping the church service to one hour or possible a little less. Folks should dismiss from the church without staying in groups after for fellowship or for visiting. If you have further questions or concerns let me know. This is going to take the cooperation of all of us in order to keep everyone safe. IF YOU DO NOT FEEL SAFE GOING INTO A GROUP SETTING AT THIS TIME, DO NOT FEEL YOU ARE OBLIGATED TO DO SO. It is always your choice to stay home and avoid crowds.
I would strongly encourage churches who were live streaming their services to continue to do so. Local churches will be reaching out to you this next week to let you know of changes in their settings. ALSO – PLEASE PROVIDE HAND SANITIZER AT THE DOORWAYS OF YOUR BUILDINGS AND ENCOURAGE ALL TO USE PRIOR TO ENTERING THE BUILDING! If you are offering multiple services, please adhere to a cleaning of highly touched hard surfaces between times.