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Columbia/Boone County health order is set to expire this Wednesday afternoon, announcement coming about what’s next


The current Columbia/Boone County health order is set to expire at 11:59 a.m. on Wednesday afternoon unless the order is extended or modified by the Columbia/Boone County Health Department.

"Something will be issued before it expires on Wednesday," Sarah Humm of the Columbia/Boone County Health Department said.

Humm said the department takes a lot of things into consideration when issuing a health order including vaccination rates, positive COVID-19 cases, and how hospitals are keeping up with cases.

"We're in a much better place than we were in the fall," Humm said. "We've kind of plateaued as far as cases going down, we're seeing about 20 or so cases a day."

When the last health order went into effect, the health department said the five-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases was around 17 cases a day.

The current health order went into effect on noon on March 4th.

The order states bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues are able resume to normal operating hours. According to the order release, these businesses were previously required to close at midnight in the prior health order.

According to the current order, all private and public gatherings are currently limited to 50 people. The prior order restricted gathering sizes to be a maximum of 20 people.

Currently bar and buffet service are currently allowed with social distancing and face mask requirements.

Sara Humm with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department said there will be an announcement about what is next, but couldn't give more details about an extension or new order.

Owner of Dogmaster Distillery, Van Hawxby said his business has partially opened up their bar seating.

"When people come in, they have that experience at the tasting room that they would've had prior to COVID," Hawxby said. "It's been nice seeing people you know, interacting at the bar space."

Hawxby said they've seen an increase in business recently and feels that is due to people feeling more comfortable. He also says they've never had a problem with customers not wearing masks in the place.

"Our customers understand that if that's one thing we have to do to keep our doors open," Hawxby said. "They're more than happy to accommodate that, so that's never been an issue."

If the health order is not extended, Hawxby said they'll most likely still require customers to wear masks in the distillery.

"We want to be a good community partner, and I think that good community patrons are those that respect the wishes of the establishment," Hawxby said. "I think that we'll continue to require mask to be worn when you walk in and out and walk around."

Hawxby said it will probably take a while for his business to go back to 100% normal regulations.

"It may take a little while for us to really feel comfortable to open up fully to the community," Hawxby said. "I think we would see what other people are doing and how they are doing."

He said it would probably take two or three weeks after the health order was changed to open up with zero regulations until the establishment would feel comfortable making a change in their policy.

When the current health order went into effect, the release said "the five-day rolling average number of new cases [in the county] had decreased to 17. This is a decrease of 68% from Feb. 7, when the five-day rolling average was 53 new cases per day."

Currently the state dashboard says Boone county has had 66 COVID-19 cases in the past seven days.

According to the state dashboard, 73,137 coronavirus vaccines have been given out in Boone County. This equates to 26.6% of the county population receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.

Boone County has the third highest vaccinated county population in the state. The rank behind Atchison County with a rate of 29.1% and Joplin County at 28.2%.

Pulaski County has the lowest vaccination rate of 7.1% of the population vaccinated according to the state dashboard.

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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.


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