Stone County has joined other government entities in issuing a declaration of state of emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.

The declaration, approved Thursday, but which goes into effect at 12:01 Monday, March 23, prohibits the gathering of 50 or more people in a single space or room.

The order is to expire at midnight April 5, “unless extended or terminated by a late order,” according to the declaration.

The order also states that gatherings of fewer than 50 people “shall take appropriate action to minimize risk to the greatest extent possible by implementing and enforcing mitigation measures, including but not limited to, social distancing, limiting the time period of gatherings, frequent cleaning of all surfaces, and posting of warning signs.”

The order lists several exceptions to the declaration, including “educational institutions, daycare facilities, places of employment, grocery stores, retail stores, courts, or government offices.”

The order also states that the Stone County Health Department can state mandatory or advisory policies as necessary.

Stone County joins several other entities in issuing a state of emergency. Branson issued one on March 17. Hollister issued theirs on March 19.

The Taney County Commission has included a Proclamation of State of Emergency as an agenda item on their next meeting, set for 9 a.m. Monday.

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