Many COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed Wednesday, as Columbia eases back from the measures imposed during a year of pandemic safety concerns.
Social distancing and face masks will continue to be required, but limitations on larger — but not all — gatherings have been lifted.
There is no longer a limit on group sizes at bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Child care, day camps and similar providers are allowed to operate with a limit of 50 children encouraged.
Sports activities can proceed but are also encouraged to restrict groups to 50 or fewer. There is no cap on the number of spectators.
Public gatherings of more than 250 people can be subject to approval after an operational plan is submitted.
As a response, restaurants and bars began Tuesday to position themselves for a steady return to normal.
Although many businesses say they will continue to offer carry-out and delivery services, the Missourian caught a glimpse of preparations for more indoor dining and other ordinary operations.
Much of the relief can be attributed to a plateau in the number of COVID-19 infections, as well as a steady climb in the number of people vaccinated.
As of Sunday, the five-day rolling average number of new cases was 17 and 26.5% of Boone County residents had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As reported earlier, Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Stephanie Browning released the revised order Monday with these measures:
• Occupancy limits for large gatherings or events held at businesses and entertainment venues have been removed.
• The limit on group sizes at bars, restaurants and entertainment venues have been removed.
• The limit for entertainment facilities and arcades for children are removed; businesses are encouraged, but not required, to limit occupancy.
• Child care, day camps and other similar providers are allowed to operate and are also encouraged to limit the number of participants in any single group to a maximum of 50 children but not required. But, masking and social distancing guidelines are still required.
• Organizers of sports and similar activities are encouraged, but again not required, to keep groups to 50 participants. The limits on spectators have been removed. Social distancing at pools should be maintained.
• Public gatherings of more than 250 people need to submit an operational plan for approval, and social distancing and face masks are still required.
• All employees who are unable to be vaccinated and are able to work from home are encouraged to continue working from home to the greatest extent possible.
”We are glad to see that there haven’t been any recent spikes in new positive COVID-19 cases,” Browning said in a news release. “While many in our community are being vaccinated, not everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated yet so we need to continue spread mitigation efforts such as masking and social distancing to keep our community safe and healthy.”