Rising COVID-19 cases and an increase in workplace transmissions were factors Stephanie Browning told Columbia City Council members Monday night that contributed to extending the public health order to Dec. 8.

Browning, director of the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services,  officially extended the public health order Friday. It requires restaurants and bars that serve alcohol to close no later than 10:30 p.m. It also limits 10 people to a table and requires social distancing between those tables. 

There were 1,211 active COVID-19 case in Boone County as of Monday, according to the county's COVID-19 dashboard. That was a 26.4% increase from the previous week. 

With MU temporarily switching to virtual classes following the Thanksgiving break, Browning said she expects the city will see a decrease in new cases. 

Browning implored residents to review guidelines and work with others to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. She said people should work from home if possible, wear a mask everywhere, limit in-person interactions and modify their Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving plans to maximize social distancing .  

In response to council questions, Browning said she is reluctant to shut down bars and restaurants completely, in large part because none of the cities or counties surrounding Boone are doing so.

In addition to Browning's COVID-19 report, the City Council:

  • Tabled the proposed installation of traffic calming devices on William Street between Paris Road and Walnut Street, and Hinkson Avenue between Paris Road and Old 63 North, pending additional research. 
  • Approved an ordinance naming Vineyards Lake and Battle parks, and approving development plans for both.
  • Held a public hearing and accepted the Water and Light 2020 Renewable Energy Report. Suggestions raised by the Climate and Environment Commission that sections of the report be re-evaluated in light of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan were discussed, as well as providing a clearer roadmap for reaching future landmarks. These additions will be included in an edited report that will be published in January and will include additional energy sources that have been secured since the previous draft. There were some concerns regarding possibly problematic long-term contracts and the costly penalties that would be involved in breaking away from them.
  • Adopted a memorandum of understanding between the Columbia Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for the use of a federally owned National Integrated Ballistic Information Network platform. This will allow the Police Department to quickly compare ballistic evidence to determine whether it came from a firearm that has been used in another violent crime. The results will come within a day rather than requiring the department to wait three to four weeks.
For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Public Life reporter, fall 2020 Studying public policy journalism Reach me at aaron.senk@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at mhart@mail.missouri.edu.

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at swaffords@missouri.edu or at 573-884-5366.

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