Leaders from the City of Columbia and Boone County announced a new order instructing people to stay at home, and suspending "non-essential" businesses. Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said the order is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing the amount of people in public spaces.
Under the order, residents should only leave home for what city officials have designated as essential activities. Those activities include getting food, medical supplies, and taking care of family-members in other households. The order also designates essential businesses allowed to continue, which include health care facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, construction companies, and a handful of others.
While city playgrounds are closed, the order says city parks are encouraged to remain open. Residents can go for walk and participate in other recreational activities, as long as they maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from other people. The order goes into effect Wednesday, March 25 at 8 a.m. and lasts until 8 a.m. on April 24, or until otherwise extended.
The order follows similar directives from local leaders in Kansas City and St. Louis, which went into effect earlier this week. Governor Mike Parson has refused calls to issue a state-wide stay-at-home order, despite pressure from business leaders, and the Missouri State Medical Association. The Medical Association wrote in an open letter Monday, "If things progress as is, COVID-19 patients will deplete the state's available hospital beds, ventilators, and precious personal protection equipment."
The governor has said a state-wide stay-at-home order would hurt rural areas more than urban areas, and the economic impact would be too great.
Find the full text of the order below: