St. Charles County orders bars and restaurants to close early


ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – St. Charles County announced a new public health order Tuesday. Bars and restaurants will be required to close by 11 p.m. The new order takes effect Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said a big reason for the order was the fallout from shutdowns in other parts of the region.

“Last weekend, we just had a flood of 20-somethings out here in our bars,” he said.

Ehlmann said customers were not social distancing and did not wear masks.

The county executive said the action is needed to address the troubling number of COVID hospitalizations.

Ehlmann said the county is taking other measures to educate the public on ways to help. 

“We have put up a bunch of billboards in the county asking people to social distance, wear a mask, and avoid crowds,” he said.

The latest public health order comes on what is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year for area bars. The night before Thanksgiving has turned into a reunion night for many friends returning from college.

“It’s the craziest night of the year,” said bartender Ashley Preiss. She said St. Charles has become a popular nightspot and believes many bartenders will lose out on a significant source of income because of the order.

“A lot of our late-night bartenders will make a majority of their money in that last two hours,” Preiss said.

The longtime owner of Tuners on Main Street said his business will find a way to survive. Jim Schappe said most of his customers leave before late-night crowds arrive.

“We were shut down for six weeks earlier this summer and we made it through that,” he said. “We’ll make it through this too.”

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