COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)
The Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department will let the county's health order to expire Wednesday at noon; local businesses are planning how they will move forward with the new recommendations.
The health order expiration will no longer require businesses to enforce masks and social distancing within their buildings. Businesses will have the right to choose whether to continue enforcing customers to wear masks. The health department does recommend that businesses and residents continue COVID-19 mitigation efforts and continue following CDC guidelines.
Many local bars and clubs are preparing plans on how they'll move forward with continuing COVID-19 safety for employees and guests.
The Gold Bar, in downtown Columbia, says it's still trying to finalize plans on how to move forward. As it's concerned about the safety of its patrons and staff members. The bar will continue to enforce masks while customers are in the building. Customers will be allowed to remove their masks while eating or drinking. The Gold Bar manager, Kymberlee Hunter, said customers are still required to keep masks on while dancing on the dance floor.
“We want to make sure all of our patrons are safe that’s our number one concern as well as our employees that’s what’s most important, because even though the health order has expired COVID has not, so we want to make sure that everybody is still safe," said Hunter.
Hunter says the bar is looking forward to getting back to some type of normalcy as many of their customers have not been able to fully experience, 'The Gold Bar experience', due to the many health order restrictions that were in place.
Nic Parks, the owner of the Silver Ball says he will not require masks at his businesses, as he will leave the decision up to customers and staff members.
“We prefer and are a big proponent of responsibility over government mandates and we will allow the people to make the decision on whether or not they want to wear a mask and that goes for customers and employees," said Parks.
Parks says he believes that people should have the decision on whether or not to wear a mask. Starting tomorrow afternoon guests and employees will only wear masks if they choose.
“For people who are choosing to go to a bar or entertainment place or a concert or a sporting event who have reason to not be concerned whether they’re healthy or had vaccinations or they’ve already had it they have the right to choose whether or not they wear a mask," said Parks.
As of Tuesday, the five-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases in Boone county is 8, there are 19 positive cases in Boone County hospitals; 3 are Boone County residents.
Boone County has administered 149,107 vaccine doses; of that 69,380 residents have completed the vaccination process. 38.4% of the county's population has completed the vaccination process.
The state has administered 4,182,124 vaccine doses; of that 1,934,056 Missourians have completed the vaccination process. 38.8% of the state's population has initiated the vaccination process and 31.5% have completed the vaccination process.