The County Commission was joined by a group of local leaders last Thursday for a discussion about the county’s and city’s gradual ease back into regular life after more than a month of being shutdown by the COVID-19 virus.
Sandra Bell, Ste. Genevieve County Health Department administrator; Felix Meyer, the county’s emergency management director; Rev. Edward Nemeth, pastor of the Church of Ste. Genevieve; Happy Welch, Ste. Genevieve’s new city administrator; and County Clerk Sue Wolk all were present for last Thursday’s commission meeting. Ste. Genevieve Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Dena Kreitler took part by speaker phone.
On April 27, Bell had unveiled a potential four-step plan for reopening the county.
Bell’s plan had four phases: 1, Slow the Spread/Respond; 2, Reopen/Recovery; 3, Establish Protection Then Lift Protection; and 4, Rebuild Our Readiness for the Next Pandemic.
Bell handed out one-, three- and five-page versions of the plan. She said the county was currently in Phase One, which has included implementing social distancing, hand-washing and closure of “non-essential” businesses.
During this time, the availability and speed of testing for COVID-19 has greatly improved, she said.
Phase Two, Recovery, was tentatively set to begin on Monday, May 4, in accordance with Governor Mike Parson’s plan.
In Phase Two, Step One will be for businesses to open with occupancy limitations. No mass gatherings will be allowed. Step Two will be to begin relaxing those limitations and to allow gatherings of up to 50 people. Step Three will remove limitations on businesses but continue social distancing while maintaining a limit on gatherings of 50 people.
Step 4 will increase gatherings to up to 250 people. Schools would be allowed to reopen.
Phase Three will introduce long-term solutions to keep the virus at bay as all restrictions are lifted. More details will be worked out later.
“Everybody wants to open May 4,” Bell said.
She has expressed serious concern about opening too many things in May.
Her plan matches most of the first phase of the governor’s four-phase plan, which also was announced on April 27.
See complete story in the May 6 edition of the Herald.