Kirksville City Council, Gov. Parson issue shelter-in-place order

Kirksville City Council and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson issued a shelter-in-place order Friday to prevent the spread of COVID-19, among other measures.

As of Friday afternoon, Adair County had a total of 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Five of those cases have fully recovered and five remain active.

A special City Council meeting was held to pass the shelter-in-place order. All citizens in Kirksville are ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus. People can leave for essential travel, such as going to work or the grocery store.

All restaurants are prohibited to serve food in a dine-in area. Curbside pickup, drive-thru and delivery services are still available. 

All businesses are ordered to close, unless they are deemed an essential business. Some essential businesses include healthcare operations, necessary government functions, grocery stores, food services, news reporting, hotels and gas stations.

The order restricts social gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, whether it be in a private or public setting. Any essential business remaining open must introduce appropriate health and safety precautions. Reducing the amount of customers and requiring six feet separation between people are suggestions listed in the order.

The order stresses that you can still leave your home for essential activities. Some include grocery shopping, maintaining your health and safety, outdoor activity with at least six feet of social distance and travel to work.

Those who fail to comply with the ordinance can be fined $50 to $500, or up to 90 days of jail time. Any non-essential business that fails to close will have their business license revoked and utility services disconnected.

The order goes into effect 12:01 a.m. April 6. The enforcement of social distancing will be effective immediately. 

The same day, Parson issued a statement from Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, declaring a statewide shelter-in-place order. The order details social distancing constraints and essential business criteria. The order requires all schools in Missouri to remain closed. It does not prohibit providing food and nutritional services to students or families. 

The state order will go into effect 12:01 April 6, and remain in effect until 11:59 p.p. Friday, April 24 unless it is extended by Williams. The Kirksville order will remain effective until the same time. The City Council will meet at 5 p.m. April 24 to determine if the order should be extended.  

Kirksville has also enacted other safety measures to slow the spread of coronavirus. A state of emergency was declared March 20. This declaration limits the amount of people at a social gathering to 10 or fewer and limits the occupancy of buildings to no more than 50 people. 

The Adair County Health Department has been keeping people informed on practices to stay safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Jim LeBaron, the Adair County Health Department administrator, issued a press release March 9 discussing strategies to reduce the risk of getting coronavirus. He stressed the importance of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. He also said to not touch any part of your face, as the virus enters the body through your nose and mouth. LeBaron said the strongest way to combat COVID-19 is to practice social distancing.

“If we do not move around Kirksville or Adair County, COVID-19 cannot spread,” LeBaron said. 

LeBaron said he is in favor of the shelter-in-place order as it supports social distancing. He said he expects more confirmed positive cases in the coming weeks as private lab results will become available to health providers. LeBaron said he thinks actions will become more strict as more cases are confirmed.