ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) — St. Louis County will ease restrictions on high-contact sports and capacity limitations at local businesses.
During his Monday briefing, County Executive Dr. Sam Page’s office said the county will rollback some restrictions as based on current COVID-19 case numbers in the county.
Three major decisions were outlined in his briefing.
Similar to the recent announcement by St. Louis City, Page announced they will allow high-contact sports if school districts can provide a plan to be approved by the health department.
Schools must submit individual safety plans for each sport which include details on how they will perform contact tracing for the athletes and how spectators can attend games. Once approved, the schools can begin playing games.
[READ: New youth sports guidelines to allow for more competitions, fans in St. Louis County]
“These plans must include the same screening, quarantine, and isolation guidelines of other youth sports activities. They must also specify how spectators will be managed. They must have a pledge that schools will cooperate with contact tracing efforts,” Page said. “Failure to comply with approve plan means it will be revoked.”
As of Monday, the health department will immediately begin accepting safety plans from schools wishing to play any high-contact sport this fall.
“This will allow kids to play if schools can provide a path forward that is approved by health officials,” Page’s spokesperson Doug Moore told News 4 Sunday.
Plans can be submitted via email at [email protected]
The county does not have the staffing to ensure the plan is being enforced but says he’s confident he’ll find out if there are violations.
Moderate impact sports were allowed to begin competitions last week. While briefly touching on schools in St. Louis County, Page recommended that high schools offer an in-person learning option as they see fit for their district.
St. Louis County also plans to roll back restrictions on capacity limitations. Based on the current number of cases in the county, they plan to lift some of the restrictions starting Wednesday.
Right now, establishments like bars and restaurants are capped at 25 percent, that number will increase to 50 percent. This change will go in effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
They do not plan to get rid of the current 10 p.m. curfew on bars at this time.
“We will allow a controlled use of drink and self service food stations at restaurant and convience stores with precautions and limitations,” Page added.
Back in May, self-serve stations at QuikTrip were off limits. Several soda fountain machines and ATMS were blocked off from customers. QuikTrip said the changes to their food and drink self-service stations are in line with recommendations from health experts.
[RELATED: We’re breaking down cases by county in Missouri and Illinois]
Although COVID-19 tramission is still high, he said it is fairly stable.
“A signifigant portion of our hospitalization come from residents of our surrounding counties and we’ve seen some improvements in the 15-19 age group where rate has declined 16 percent from Sept. 15 through Sept. 28.,” he said. Also in that age group, the positivity rate has falling 7.6 percent to 5.7 percent. We are seeing a lot more testing in that age group.”
Page also factored in how residents and businesses have improved their compliance with masking and social distancing rules.
“Our businesses have worked hard to keep customers and employees safe. It is critical those efforts continue,” Page said. “The actions of St. Louis County has helped save lives, your actions have helped save lives.”
In addition, the county executive said COVID-19 data is trending in the right direction in St. Louis County. He doesn’t see COVID-19 resolving itself in the county until next summer, even with a vaccine.
The county has seen more than 25,000 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic. On April 1, St. Louis County and City accounted for 80% of Missouri’s total cases. On October 1, that number went down to 25%.
Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force says they are seeing increases in rural areas across Missouri. He attributes the improvements in St. Louis City and County on mask mandates and other restrictions put in place.
“The majority of the growth in cases, the majority of the growth in hospitalizations, are coming from those rural areas,” said Garza.