COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Director Stephanie Browning announced a new health order Wednesday which allows restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues to stay open until 10:30 p.m.
In the current order, businesses had to close by 10 p.m. and alcohol sales had to stop by 9 p.m.
The health department assistant director, Scott Clardy, said this is because of decreasing case numbers.
Leading up to Aug. 28, when the current health order went into effect, there were 471 COVID-19 cases in Boone County for the week of Aug. 21-27.
Now, leading up to the updated health order, which will go into effect Sept. 18 at midnight, health officials confirmed 457 cases for the week of Sept. 10-16.
Clardy said even though that number is similar, the overall case trend is still decreasing.
"The fact that two to three weeks into the most recent order we were seeing fewer cases tells us that that order was effective," he said.
Boone County Commissioner, Janet Thompson, said the health department plans to make small adjustments to the health order.
“People need to keep living their lives and businesses need to keep functioning and so as rates drop a little bit she can at the same time incrementally adjust the health order to affect that drop," she said.
The health department also received information from bars and restaurants on why the order should change for safety reasons.
"The problem with the last call at 9 p.m. is that a lot of people were ordering lots of drinks at 9 and sitting and drinking until 10, owners were worried this was causing a safety issue," Clardy said.
Nickie Davis, CTA Executive Director for the Downtown Community improvement District, said owners were grateful to be able to present their issues with the current health order to city officials at a meeting on Tuesday.
"This is their livelihood and it is really hard for them to have to close up early while only being at 20% capacity with the 6 foot distancing," she said.
The health department plans to slowly extend the closing time depending on case trends in the county.
"I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but we want to go very slowly and very incrementally so we don't see a sudden increase again and go right back to where we were," Clardy said.
According to the current health order, plans for an event have to be submitted to the health department 30 days beforehand, but in the updated order plans have to be submitted 14 days prior.