4.6.20

Effective April 6, 2020, Missouri implemented an order directing residents to stay at home to combat the spread of COVID-19. The order instructs individuals to stay at home except to work, access necessities like food, prescriptions, and health care, attend a place of worship, or engage in outdoor activity. Missouri Governor Mike Parsons also recently issued guidance regarding the stay-at-home order. As currently written, the order will remain in effect until April 24, 2020.

Like the orders issued by many other states, Missouri’s stay-at-home order exempts essential businesses from some of its requirements. However, unlike some other states, Missouri’s order does not require non-essential businesses to shut down. Instead, the order requires non-essential businesses to comply with the social distancing and social gathering restrictions stated in the order. Workplaces that remain open are directed to observe good hygiene practices and encourage working from home when possible.

The order restricts gatherings of more than 10 people and requires residents to stay six feet apart. The order permits residents to travel to a place of worship, provided that the limitations on social gatherings and social distancing are followed. Individuals are also instructed not to visit nursing homes or other long-term care facilities unless the individual is providing critical assistance. Restaurants and bars are closed to dine-in customers, though they remain open for drive-through, delivery, and pick-up orders.

Missouri’s order incorporates the definition of “essential critical infrastructure workers” provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Per the governor’s guidance, examples of workers considered to be “essential” include

  • Health care workers and caregivers;

  • Law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders;

  • Government operations;

  • Mental health and social service workers;

  • Pharmacy employees;

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, and other retail sales;

  • Restaurant operations and food delivery employees;

  • Farmworkers;

  • Electricity and utility industry employees;

  • Critical manufacturing employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, and chemicals);

  • Petroleum, natural, and propane gas workers;

  • Transportation and logistics workers; and

  • Communications and information technology employees.

These essential businesses may remain open, but they are directed to take necessary precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including practicing social distancing (except where job duties require otherwise). Further, essential retail businesses must comply with additional occupancy restrictions. The order restricts the number of people that may be in a retail location to 25 percent or less of the building’s fire code occupancy level for buildings smaller than 10,000 square feet, and 10 percent or less of the building’s fire code occupancy level for buildings larger than 10,000 square feet.

Companies that do not employ essential workers may request a waiver from the Department of Economic Development. Further, while the order requires all schools to close, daycares and other organizations providing child care may continue to operate in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to those operations.

Missouri’s statewide order is not the only restriction on employers operating in the state. Many Missouri cities and counties have enacted stay-at-home orders that may be more restrictive than the statewide order, and employers should comply with the most restrictive requirements applicable to them. If you have any questions, please contact the attorneys in Constangy’s St. Louis or Kansas City offices.

Please be aware that substantial changes in the governmental guidance and underlying laws are occurring on almost a daily basis, which will impact the analysis of the legal issues related to COVID-19. It is critical that you check the Resource Center often for the most recent information and stay in continual contact with your Constangy attorney.

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