St. Louis County executive Sam Page announces return to indoor dining Mon., Jan. 4
St. Louis County executive Sam Page announced today, Dec. 30, that the county’s restaurants will be able to resume indoor dining on Mon., Jan. 4. County restaurants have been restricted to outdoor dining, carryout and delivery since Page’s Nov. 17 executive order shutting down indoor dining for all St. Louis County restaurants.
“The pandemic has been harder on the restaurant industry than most,” Page said in a press conference this morning. “And it’s up to all of us to value a dynamic restaurant scene in St. Louis County and support those local businesses as they weather the Covid storms.” He went on to add that the Department of Public Health has been working closely with a core group of restaurant owners to develop new safety protocols for indoor dining.
Page cited falling Covid numbers in the county as one of the reasons for allowing restaurants to reopen. Going forward, dining rooms will be able to seat either 25% of the restaurant's capacity or the number of diners when tables are placed at least six feet apart, whichever is lower. Restaurants and bars will be required to close at 10 p.m., and “some bars” will need to install physical barriers, like plastic and plexiglass. Furthermore, Page ordered restaurants to record the names of patrons in order to do contact tracing in case of further outbreaks. Finally, “new mask protocols” meant to “protect restaurant workers better” will be forthcoming, Page said.
St. Louis County's Covid-19 information website, last updated on Dec. 29, currently shows a 14.7% positivity rate – down from 17.2% on Dec. 8 – in the county over the past week, as well as an average of 390 new cases per day. According to the findings of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, “the average rate of newly diagnosed Covid-19 cases (50.8 cases per 100,000 residents per day) remains very high, despite a substantial decrease over the last several weeks.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that indoor dining would be limited to a maximum of 50 people. The new regulations permit either 25% of capacity or the number of diners when tables are placed at least six feet apart, whichever is lower. The story has been updated to reflect this information.
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