City of West Plains, Mo. issues stay at home order; Health Dept. issues public health emergency order

WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- A minute past midnight - that's when a stay at home order begins for citizens living in West Plains. This comes after city council declared a state of emergency for the city lasting until mid April.

As of Friday, Howell County does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, the Howell County Health Dept. issued a public heath emergency order Friday that will take effect Monday for the entire county.

Separately, the West Plains City Council issued a stay at home order that will begin at 12:01 am on Saturday, for residents in the city only.

"Stay at home. Use common sense. If you go out, use social distancing. Try not to have gatherings greater than 10," West Plains City Administrator Tom Stehn told KY3.

For the past few weeks, Shanna Head has had to scale back what all she does inside her store, Country at Heart.

"It's not the same because the people is what makes the store come alive," Head added.

Curbside pickup and deliveries will have to carry the business for the foreseeable future.

"It was really great to know we can conduct business as normal as possible under the conditions," Head explained.

These are certainly not normal conditions.

Beginning Monday, March 30th, all restaurants, bars, clubs, taverns and dining facilities in Howell County will have to close down to the public.

They will be able to offer curbside, drive thru or delivery service.

The health department also ordered no gatherings of 10 or more people.

Exceptions are government, judicial, healthcare and private business operations.

At 12:01 am Saturday, the city of West Plains' stay at home order takes effect.

It runs, for now, until 11:59 pm on April 15th.

"We wanted to do everything we can to ensure public safety and public health," Stehn exclaimed.

This order means people can only leave home for essential activities, to work for an essential business or for essential travel.

Public playground equipment is closed but you are free to visit parks, play golf, go on walks or walk your dog.

Shanna Head urges people to do what they can to help small businesses.

"Get some gift certificates, you can always use those later. Promote them on Facebook, shout them out, give them a good review....anything like that because small businesses are the backbones of little, hometowns," Head said.

She says call around, see what local businesses are doing to stay afloat.

"Every sale that we have will keep our doors open and we'll be there once this is lifted," Head added.

The city asks people not to panic buy with this stay at home order. Food providers will remain open.

Both the emergency health order and the citywide stay at home order can be shortened or extended at any time.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.