The steps St. Louis is taking on the road to reopening

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – People are coming back in mass to visit St. Louis area attractions and spend money downtown, that’s according to Brian Hall with Explore St. Louis.

Hall took part in COVID: The next steps; a FOX2Now.com show hosted by medical reporter Dan Gray. It looked at the efforts underway for reopening.

“Spring break really marked the beginning of the recovery of travel and tourism especially in St. Louis,” said Hall.

He said during the last week of March the metro area saw 82% occupancy.

Hall joined St. Louis County Health Director Dr. Faisal Khan, Alex Garza with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, and Andrew Meyer with FEMA.

So how much longer will St. Louis have to wait to open up fully? Khan says he would love to say things will be in a better position in a month but that we must err on the side of caution.

“I really can’t give you a timeline because the virus and the way the pandemic unfolds is what gives us an indication of what might come next,” explained Khan.

Khan and Dr. Alex Garza with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force both agree vaccinations are the key to reopening.

 “The best way to get there is to increase vaccinations and adhere to health strategies, if we do that we will get there faster and have a greater potential to not having to wear that mask,” said Garza.

And when it comes to herd immunity, Khan said we shouldn’t focus on an arbitrary target. He says there are plenty of vaccines available and we need to focus on getting people the shots.

 “Able body individuals that have the ability to get in a car and drive to a vaccination site, that is the population that worries me the most because we are seeing an increase in vaccine hesitancy and reluctance to initiate that first step,” said Khan.

FEMA is in town to help reach underserved areas. Andrew Meyer acknowledged FEMA hasn’t reached their 3,000 daily goal but is celebrating vaccinating 17,000 people so far. 

“We have seen 56% of people come from St. Louis City and County that we initially targeted who have a higher vulnerability to virus and less access to health care providers,” said Meyer.

Bottom line, Khan says you have no excuse, if you are unvaccinated get yourself a shot now.

“Don’t listen to the nonsense being spewed on social media, arm yourself with facts,” said Khan.

And when it comes to getting a booster shot, the health leaders say that is coming but it’s unclear what it will look like and when you will need to get it.

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