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Columbia City Order Restricts Gatherings, Restaurant And Bar Capacities

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece speaks at a press conference Tuesday night, announcing the first case of COVID-19 in the county.

In a press conference Tuesday night announcing the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Boone County, Mayor Brian Treece also announced an emergency order to stem the spread of the disease. Following a resolution the city council adopted at the previous night's meeting, Public Health and Human Services Director Stephanie Browning issued the order, which restricts gatherings as well as restaurant and bar capacities. For a vast majority of local restaurants and businesses open to the public, occupancy will be limited to 50 percent of capacity, up to 50 people, including staff. 

The order makes distinctions between different businesses, and types of gatherings, and it breaks down as follows: 

  • Bars, nightclubs, and other establishments offering alcholic beverages without food service must limit occupancy to 50 percent of the capacity, with a maximum of 50 people, including employees and staff.
  • Restaurants and retail food facilities must limit dine-in occupancy to 50 percent of the capacity, with a maximum of fity people, including employees and staff.
  • Preparing food to carry-out is not restricted, and the city will not enforce any ordinance or restriction that would otherwise prohibit restaurants from providing delivery service, window servicec, drive-through or drive-up service. 
  • All movie theaters, concert venues, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues must limit occupancy to 50 percent of capacity up to 50 people, including employees. 
  • Gym and fitness facilities: all will limit occupancy to 50 percent of their capacity, up to 50 people, including employees. City facilities including the ARC, the Armory, and the Columbia Sports Fieldhouse will close. 
  • Gatherings, public and private are limited to fifty people, with the exception of places of business not open to the public. 
  • Gatherings of high-risk individuals, including senior citizens and people with underlying medical conditions, are limited to ten people. 
  • Concerts, indoor sporting events and conferences exceeding 50 percent of venue capacity or 50 people are prohibited.

The order also includes exemptions for some businesses and restaurants when it comes to occupancy:

  • Cafeterias and restaurants located within hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities.
  • Adult detention facilities and juvenile justice facilities.
  • Grocery stores and the Columbia Farmer's Market - although restaurants inside of groceries are not exempted
  • Phramacies, food banks, and crisis shelters or similar institutions. 
Sebastián Martínez Valdivia was a health reporter at KBIA and is documentary filmmaker who focuses on access to care in rural and immigrant communities. A native Spanish speaker and lifelong Missouri resident, Sebastián is interested in the often overlooked and under-covered world of immigrant life in the rural midwest. He has a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri and a master's degree in documentary journalism at the same institution. Aside from public health, his other interests include conservation, climate change and ecology.
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