Springfield eases social distancing guidelines allowing more people to gather

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Springfield has announced Phase Two of its plan to re-open the economy that's scheduled to go into effect on Saturday, May 23 just after midnight.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director, Clay Goddard, said, "We had to pull the trigger on this at some point. Why not reward the community on a Saturday before a holiday weekend."

That means, more people will be allowed at more places and free to participate in more activities.

"The intent of the plan is to really simplify this because the order is a little bit more formal and it's organized differently. The plan is easier for most people to understand," said Springfield City Manager Jason Gage.

Springfield will follow the state's lead by using a mathematical formula as a guide.

Right now, only 25 individuals are allowed in places like church, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The new ordinance will allow for a 25 percent occupancy rate based on the total square footage of the location.

For example, Wonders of Wildlife Museum at Bass Pro Shops is 350,000 square feet. This means roughly 2900 people will be allowed in at one time.

As always, enforcement is complaint driven. Though officials say they've had little to no problems with people not complying.

Gage said, "We've really not had to hardly have any formal enforcement at all. Very, very little. If we need to we're there. We could issue a citation. We could even, if that doesn't do the trick, we could go as far as to look at possibly shutting down the business if we think it creates a significant health hazard."

It will be up to each person to continue to do their part to help the local economy move forward.

"We can't emphasize it enough. That's why you hear it over and over and over again. Good hygiene. Good distancing. That makes the difference," said Gage.

If all goes well, and community health is maintained, Phase Three of the plan, which includes contact sports, could begin June 15.

These changes only apply to locations and activities within Springfield city limits.