ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Restaurants and bars in the area are temporarily closing for dine-in service.
The announcement was made during a press conference from St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page, and St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann Tuesday afternoon. This is to comply with new social distancing guidelines from the federal government. You can watch the full press conference here.
The coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, for most people, but severe illness is more likely in the elderly and people with existing health problems. Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed over 7,800 people so far, while more than 80,000 have recovered.
As concerns of COVID-19 increase, regional leaders are laying down the law when it comes to protecting the public’s health.
“We were prepared in St. Charles County to go to court to get the judge to give us an order to close down our casino, which is Ameristar,” St. Charles County Exec Steve Ehlmann said.
By the time Ameristar made its decision, the Missouri Gaming Board did it for them. As of Tuesday, all casinos in the state are to close their doors until further notice.
This happened in the hopes of getting the elderly and people with weak immune systems out of harm’s way.
Missouri Gaming Commission Chairman Mike Leara said the impact of the shutdown could mean up to $1 million a day in lost revenue for the state. He said once local governments began taking actions in recent days to limit public gatherings to no more than 50, it became apparent that the casinos couldn’t remain open.
In addition, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page issued an order to mandate social distancing. It includes a rule to only allow bars and restaurants to offer carry-out service. Mayor Lyda Krewson said the new rule also takes place in St. Louis City on Thursday at midnight.
"Starting today, all businesses that offer food or beverages for on-premises consumption must implement social distancing measures. Social distancing measures include reducing the number of employees and customers in one room. Starting by 12:01 a.m. on March 20, all restaurants and bars must start serving customers only through delivery, carry-out, curbside, or a drive-through. "Statement from St. Louis County Sam Page's office.
Franklin County is also adopting an order for restaurants and bars to only allow carry-out service. Leaders from St. Charles County also said that they are following the same guidelines. Leaders from Jefferson County were not at the press conference.
The regional leaders said that they are not trying to close businesses. They need the public to practice social distancing. These guidelines are in line with that recommendation from healthcare providers.
All the St. Louis regional leaders stopped short of informing how they would enforce businesses that do not comply.
Many are hoping owners will act on good faith.
“That cooperative effort speaks to the spirit of our region,” Franklin County Executive Tim Brinker said. “The fact we have willing participates that say tell us what we’re going to do.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said that there are 88,000 people who work in the hospitality business in the region. She is asking people to contact their representatives to get legislation enacted to help these workers.
Illinois announced a similar measure Sunday afternoon. Those restaurants and bars had until today to stop offering dine-in service.
Meantime, Mayor Lyda Krewson is giving insight on how the city plans on feeding kids currently out of school.
There are several pickup locations included in the photo below.