Health Department issues message to Macon County ahead of May 4th reopening
MACON, MO -- The Macon County Health Department has issued the following message to Macon County ahead of the scheduled reopening of businesses, etc. beginning May 4th, 2020.
Yesterday, April 30, 2020, Macon County Health Department staff and trustees, city government officials, mayors, county government officials, law enforcement agencies, prosecuting attorney, economic development and the chamber of commerce held a conference call to coordinate and discuss Macon County’s reopening starting on May 4, 2020.
The reason for the conference call was to discuss Governor Parson’s guidelines set forth in his “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan” and to decide how that would be presented in Macon County. It was of general agreement among all present to follow the Governor’s guidelines for reopening. The guidelines allow all businesses and places of worship to reopen, as long as they follow social distancing guidelines (6 feet from others). Businesses that cannot maintain social distance, like salons and spas, can open while putting in other safety practices to help both the employee and customer.
A strong focus is being placed on personal responsibility of individuals and businesses to practice and promote social distancing. Social distancing will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from person to person to help promote the health and safety of our community and businesses.
It was in agreement to put into place two stricter requirements in Macon County to help further protect the health of our community. These requirements will be formalized by the County Commissioners to take effect through May 31, 2020 and then will reevaluate as phase 2 of reopening occurs.
First, there will be no unpackaged, self-service, ready to eat food options. This will include salad bars, buffets, food cases (for example, donuts and pizza), self-service food stations at events and other similar practices. Being able to clean and disinfect these stations properly between each person could be difficult and could be hard to maintain. Second, it was decided at mass gatherings and events, there will be a six-foot aisle between chairs and tables will be kept to a maximum of 10 people. This requirement will still allow gatherings and events to take place, but will help everyone in attendance maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding.
Places of Worship can reopen for in-person services beginning on May 10th. They are to make sure there is a 6-foot distance between families sitting in services and it is recommended multiple services be held (if necessary, depending on size) to allow for proper distancing between families. Practices that would normally encourage touching are strongly discouraged, like handshakes and hugs. Those that are feeling ill or vulnerable, should consider not attending an in-person service until they are feeling better to help protect themselves and others.
The Macon County Health Department has put together recommended guidance documents for businesses, places of worship and events, that can be used to help make decisions on procedures to put into place when reopening. These guidance documents can be found on our website at www.maconmohealth.org.
All precautions and restrictions put into place during this reopening are to help protect the health of our community and its members. COVID-19 has been affecting all age ranges, no one age group is untouchable or invincible. We have seen in Missouri that the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 have been highest in older populations, especially those 80 years and older. There is no data from Missouri, but the CDC has also stated those who are immunocompromised with other health conditions are at larger risk for complications from COVID-19. Social distancing will help the community protect these vulnerable populations by shielding them from coming into contact with the virus. Anyone in these vulnerable populations should also consider taking this reopening slower, perhaps continuing to stay home and when going out for non-essential services, to take extra precautions to stay healthy. Social distancing may not be 100% effective at preventing someone from becoming ill from COVID-19, so take caution when going out and who you surround yourself with.
As we reopen, we encourage you to visit these places responsibly, follow the distancing guidelines (6 feet from others) and other restrictions put in place to protect your health and the health of the businesses.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding the reopening process, regulations for businesses or as a community member, please reach out to the Macon County Health Department at 660-395-4711.
Headline picture taken by Reporter Benjamin Nelson
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