Springfield, MO

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What you need to know to reopen a business

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The city of Springfield and Greene County Commission began reopening nearly all businesses beginning May 4 in its Road to Recovery plan.

The first phase of the plan lasts through May 31, though city officials say they will reevaluate the plan every three weeks as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

On May 7, city officials announced amendments to the first phase to allow the reopening of businesses including bars, movie theaters and museums under “enhanced risk activity” guidelines. The amended order also increased the capacity of public gatherings to 25 people, from 15. Greene County commissioners were expected to vote on an amended order later May 7.

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 businesses/activities include:

bars, brewery taprooms and nightclubs

movie theaters, arcades, bowling alleys, concerts and other entertainment venues;
exhibitions and museums;

conferences and seminars;

contact sport practices, fitness classes, playgrounds and swimming pools; and

religious services.

All other nonessential and essential businesses may reopen under occupancy and social distancing guidelines.

Occupancy requirements are determined by the following formula: Divide the amount of the building’s square footage that’s used for business purposes by 30, then multiply the sum by 25% if the square footage is less than 10,000 square feet or multiply the sum by 10% if the business’ square footage is greater than 10,000 square feet.

So, in a 5,000-square-foot restaurant, for instance, the occupancy limit is 41 diners, and a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing plant can have 166 workers.

Businesses that provide personal care services must include their employees in the occupancy count, according to the order. The order does not apply to government agencies.

The city outlined that all businesses should carry out social distancing and cleaning guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes staying 6 feet apart.

City officials say they plan to soon roll out a recovery plan with details of reopening phases throughout the summer, which will be considered on a biweekly basis, according to a May 7 news release. The number of phases planned in the reopening order had not been determined by press time.


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