COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A lighter set of restrictions went into effect Tuesday for businesses in Boone County as communities start opening back up.
Under the new order, announced on Friday by the Columbia/Boone County Health director Stephanie Browning, most businesses will be able to allow 50 percent of its building capacity.
There are exceptions to that rule. For personal care facilities, the new order increases the capacity to 25 individuals or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. It also increases child care and day camp group sizes to 25 children.
The state order is more restrictive in some capacities than the new Boone County order. Retail businesses still must follow either 10 or 25 percent capacity limitations set by the state. Missouri's order is in place through the end of May.
The rule allows restaurants can operate at 50 percent seating capacity, but they still must follow social distancing guidelines and seat customers at least 6 feet apart.
The owner of Addison's Restaurant in Columbia, Matt Jenne, said he is please with how officials are handling the crisis. While this new order may let them serve a few more customers, Jenne said it won't add too many more just because of the physical spacing of tables
"We can only fit some many tables six feet apart," Jenne said. "We can add a few more tables and maybe change things around a little bit."
He said Memorial Day Weekend usually kicks off their summer season. While it's not their busiest day of the year, he did say business was down this year, but things are starting to pick back up.
"Every week is better than the last week," Jenne said. "What we've seen in the past two weeks more and more people are venturing out and are willing to come out."
Jenne said his staff has taken extra precautions to keep their customers and themselves safe amid COVID-19. The staff wears masks, limits time at tables, and only has one server going to a specific table in addition to ramped up sanitation measures.
"That's our priority, keeping people safe," Jenne said. "We feel like if we can keep our staff healthy and safe then we are going to be doing our customers a service as well."
Jordyn Price and Tucker Crow were visiting Columbia on Memorial Day to enjoy the weather. The ate at a local downtown restaurant Las Margaritas, and they said its employees made them feel safe by wearing masks and following the social distancing guidelines.
"Some places they don't wear masks but it felt good for them to be wearing them just to be cautious, because they are around people the most," Crow said.
Price said she still would be cautious about going into a place with an increased capacity.
"I honestly can't say because I have no idea where things are going to be at even a week from now," Price said. "It's hard to say."
As businesses continue to open back up, Jenne said he wants the customers to feel as safe as possible, and wait to come back until they feel comfortable.
"Whatever the virus or the threat is, it hasn't gone away, and what I think we need to do is open ourselves up slowly," Jenne said.