The city of Columbia is no longer shutting off utilities for residents who have not paid their bills amid the recent outbreak of COVID-19.

Although residents will not lose water or electricity, they will still be responsible for any current, past or future balances. Those struggling to pay are encouraged to call the city to discuss payment options.

"We know that basic hygiene, such as hand-washing, is key to reducing the spread of viruses," Human Services Manager Steve Hollis said in an email announcement. "Basic services such as electric and water are essential means to maintain good hygiene."

The CDC and state health department recommend washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public spaces, coughing or sneezing, in order to prevent the spread of disease, specifically COVID-19. 

Missouri American Water in Jefferson City has also suspended water shut-offs because of the pandemic, according to their website

As of Thursday, there are two positive cases of COVID-19 in Missouri. There are no confirmed cases in Columbia or Boone County.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Public life reporter, spring 2020. Studying print and digital news journalism. Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

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