COVID-19 Dominates Board of Aldermen Meeting

By ERIC X. VICCARO

eviccaro@stegenherald.com

During the Aug. 27 meeting, the entire  Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen agreed to have COVID-19 (coronavirus) discussions every meeting.

There were plenty of talks surrounding the pandemic during the regular meeting this past Thursday; but, most of it centered on how the city should celebrate Halloween – a holiday that’s still more than six weeks away.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Ashley Armbruster brought up the question during the dedicated segment. She noted the city has a detailed ordinance on the books.

The ordinance is listed in Section 210.750, and called “Trick or Treating on Halloween.”

Halloween could be a busier holiday than normal in 2020, and that’s because the occasion falls on a Saturday.

“What are the best practices this year?” Armbruster asked.

City administrator Happy Welch, in a telephone interview on Friday, said the city will use guidance from the Ste. Genevieve County Health Department.

“We’re going to have to lean on the health department,” Ste. Genevieve Mayor Paul Hassler agreed during the meeting.

Trick-or-treating, according to the city ordinance (found on the website Ecode360.com), is the practice of door-to-door solicitation of candy or other food items on the evening of Halloween. which shall take place only on Oct. 31.

As a refresher, let’s dig into the Halloween ordinance further. There are five sections of the document, ranging from definitions to time established, age limits and other restrictions.

All persons under the age of 14, who are engaged in trick-or-treating, must be accompanied by a parent or adult at least 21 years of age. The act of trick-or-treating must be limited to people 16 years old and younger.

Trick-or-treating is permitted in Ste. Genevieve only between the hours of 6-8:30 p.m. on Halloween (Oct. 31).

Some aldermen noted it’s “unlawful for any person to engage in trick or treating at any residence where a light is not on.”

STRONGER MASK URGING NEEDED?

In addition, a certain block of elected officials continue asking whether the city needs to have an official proclamation “with stronger actions to encourage mask wearing” as the pandemic shows no sign of going away.

Most everyone wore a mask during the board of aldermen meeting, and city officials made the gathering available on Zoom again – with development director David Bova manning the necessary technological equipment.

However, no city residents watched the meeting on Zoom, which requires participants to enter a meeting identification number and adjoining passcode to prevent what’s called “Zoombombing.”  Wikipedia defines zoombombing as “the unwanted, disruptive intrusion, generally by Internet trolls and hackers, into a video conference call.” In addition, there was no public participation.

On Sept. 11, the county health department on its Facebook page noted a coronavirus exposure at El San Felipe Restaurant on State Highway 32. The exposure occurred between 12:15-2 p.m. on Sept. 9.

The department reported no new cases on Sept. 10, two on Sept. 9, and 13 during the Labor Day weekend period Sept. 5-8.

There are currently 18 active cases, the department reports. On the positive side, there have been 3,324 negative test results.

Every day, the department provides a list of measures to implement – in order to prevent COVID-19’s spread.

Most of the literature features commonsense information ranging from getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, washing your hands, avoiding sharing personal items and cleaning surfaces as much as possible.