Missouri Government Actions on Covid-19 Updated 5/22/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Kansas City’s reopening ordinances
- St. Louis City’s proposed property tax and transferring of funds
- St. Louis County’s reopening of outdoor activities and attractions
- A St. Louis area church filing suit regarding social distancing restrictions
- The City Counsel in Kansas City has unanimously approved ordinances allowing more flexibility for restaurants and bars to reopen. The ordinances will allow outdoor seating and carryout opportunities for alcoholic beverages for the duration of the pandemic. Indoor dining will remain limited with social distancing guidelines in place, but outdoor seating will allow businesses to expand into parking lots and sidewalks.
- Despite pandemic-related financial stress, St. Louis City aldermen have endorsed a property tax increase to fund early childhood education programs. The initiative will be on the November election ballot. One alderman voiced concern that November is too soon to vote on increasing property taxes with some city residents in danger of losing their homes or their health. The board also advanced a bill to transfer the city parking fund to the general fund reserve to help with revenue shortfalls as a result of the pandemic.
- St. Louis County has announced that summer camps and pools will begin to reopen in June. Summer camps are allowed to begin operating starting June 1, while places like public pools, gyms, and fitness centers should be able to reopen June 15. Gyms and fitness centers raise high risk concerns, however, so while the goal is to have them open June 15, there is a possibility that decision could change. Additionally, although these places are set to reopen, things will be different. Summer camps, for example, will be drop-off only, and visitors will not be allowed.
- The beloved Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis will reopen to members on June 9 and to the general public on June 16. Some areas of the Garden will remain closed, such as the Climatron and Children’s Garden areas. Visitors will be limited and allowed in with advance purchase of time specific tickets only. Additionally, the Shaw Nature Reserve will open to the public on June 16. The Butterfly House in Chesterfield is working on a reopening plan.
- A St. Louis church has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and the acting director of the county health department, Emily Doucette, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The church alleges that the restrictions on church attendance are unconstitutional and that Zoom and other electronic meetings are not adequate substitutes for certain church activities better suited for in-person meetings, such as communion and singing. The church states, “gatherings are a critical tool when performing Plaintiff’s mission to ‘support the weak.’” The church asks the federal judge to prohibit enforcement of the orders restricting worship in person.