Columbia Mayor Brian Treece announced Monday afternoon he would be putting an emergency resolution before the city council in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution would recommend prohibiting gatherings of 50 people or more, putting restrictions on gatherings of more than 25 people, and limiting restaurant and bar capacities in Columbia.
Following a meeting with city leaders in healthcare and education, the mayor said the resolution would force restaurants and bars to limit admission to 50 percent of their capacity, up to 50 people — including staff. Treece said the resolution would give Columbia City Manager John Glascock and Columbia Health Director Stephanie Browning the power of city council to enforce the emergency measures.
With regards to testing capacity for the COVID-19 virus, the mayor said local healthcare providers were working to, "get certified this week so they can begin a faster turnaround and faster response time for that testing." The heads of MU Health, Boone Hospital, and the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veteran's Hospital were also at the meeting, and said they were working on plans for if there's an uptick in cases in mid-Missouri.
As of Monday evening, the state Department of Health and Senior Services had tested 170 people, of which 6 had tested positive, and the rest negative. The confirmed cases of COVID-19 were found in Greene, Henry, and St. Louis counties, with no confirmed cases in mid-Missouri.
Columbia Public Schools superintendent Peter Stiepleman was also at the Monday meeting and said the school district is working to finalize plans to provide meals for students while schools are closed. CPS announced earlier in the day that schools would close on Wednesday, March 18, and remain closed for in-person classes through April 13.