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The city of Springfield amended Phase I of the Road to Recovery plan to allow public gatherings up to 25 people. Mayor Ken McClure, above, speaks a Thursday afternoon news conference.
SBJ photo by Kathryn Hardison
The city of Springfield amended Phase I of the Road to Recovery plan to allow public gatherings up to 25 people. Mayor Ken McClure, above, speaks a Thursday afternoon news conference.

City amends order to allow bars, theaters

Posted online

A week after issuing the first phase of reopening orders, officials with the city of Springfield today announced an amendment to the Road to Recovery plan.

Bars, movie theaters and museums are among those included in the businesses allowed to reopen, effectively immediately, under what the city calls “enhanced risk activity” guidelines. The amendment also increased the capacity of public gatherings to no more than 25 people, up from 15, officials said at a Thursday afternoon news conference. Greene County Commission officials were expected to vote on an amended order later in the day, according to a news release.

“With less restriction comes more responsibility, and I know our community will do the right things,” said Mayor Ken McClure at the news conference.

An enhanced risk activity is one that raises the risk of the spread of a communicable disease by bringing groups of people together in the same space for a period of time, according to the order. An essential or nonessential business may provide these activities to the lesser of up to 25 customers or the number of customers that can fit in the space while observing social distancing guidelines. No counter seating or physical contact is allowed under these guidelines.

The enhanced risk activity guidelines also apply to:
• brewery taprooms and nightclubs;
• arcades, bowling alleys, concerts and other entertainment venues;
• conferences;
• noncontact sports, contact sports practices, fitness classes and playgrounds;
• swimming pools; and
• religious services.

Other occupancy guidelines for nonessential and essential businesses not participating in high-risk activities remain intact.

The city and county commission announced the Road to Recovery plan April 30 when it began gradually reopening most businesses. The first phase began May 4 and expires May 31, and city officials plan to reevaluate the order every three weeks.

Next week, city officials plan to roll out a recovery plan with details of reopening phases throughout the summer, which will be considered on a biweekly basis, according to the release.

Recent testing of 146 asymptomatic essential and front-line workers in the county recorded zero positive cases of COVID-19, said Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard at the news conference.

“We feel confident that our community has successfully flattened the curve, at lease in this phase of the disease,” Goddard said. “It’s probably not realistic that we can completely eliminate COVID-19 from Greene County. We may at some future date see an evidence of a resurgence of this illness, and we need to be on watch for that, but right now, we feel that this disease does not have the upper hand in our community.”

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