Branson aldermen voted Monday to restrict non-essential businesses, limit the size of public and social gatherings and require social distancing.
These amendments to an ordinance approved last week go into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24.
According to a staff report from the city, the ordinance is designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the city of Branson by restricting non-essential business operations, public and social gatherings, and forcing social distancing amongst individuals in the city.
This new ordinance has the following outlines:
–Prohibits public and social gatherings of more than 10 people.
– Requires social distancing of six feet or more amongst non-family members.
–Prohibits non-essential businesses from operating in the city.
–Prohibits on-premises eating and drinking at any restaurant or business open to the public.
–Prohibits visitation to nursing homes, long term care facilities, retirement homes or any facility where the number of guests over the age of 60 outnumber those under the age of 60 unless that visit is to provide critical assistance or care.
The ordinance does allow essential businesses as long as they don’t exceed 25% of their occupant load in enclosed public places. Day cares and medical facilities are exempt. For lodging facilities, only the public areas are considered.
The bill also allows non-essential businesses to operate with 10 or fewer people as long as the business is not open to the public. Non-essential businesses can also continue operating if the employees can perform their work from their own residences.
The bill underwent several revisions during the emergency three-hour meeting held Monday evening. The Branson Tri-Lakes News monitored the meeting through live-streaming. The Branson Tri-Lakes News will report more details from the ordinance as they become available.
Violations of this ordinance can range between 90 days in jail or up to a $500 fine.
The ordinance will sunset when the emergency proclamation of the Mayor expires on May 15.
According to the ordinance, essential businesses are defined as “day care facilities which serve employees of essential businesses, health care facilities, grocery stores, convenience food stores, service stations, drug stores, pharmacies, public service or telecommunication facilities, financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, government offices and facilities, lodging establishments, and restaurants or other businesses as deemed essential by the Emergency Management Director or the City Administrator.”
According to the staff report, the ordinance falls in line with the mandate laid out by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson this last weekend, ordering all Missourians to avoid all social gatherings of 10 or more people. Parson’s mandate went into effect Monday, March 23 at 12:01 a.m., and will last until April 6, unless extended.
According to a press release from the city, the “authority for this ordinance is laid out in Section 79.380, RSMo which permits the Board of Aldermen to “make regulations and pass ordinances for the prevention of the introduction of contagious diseases in the city, and for the abatement of the same, and may make quarantine laws and enforce the same within five miles of the city.”
The ordinance was approved on two readings by a 5-1 vote, with Kevin McConnell providing the “no” vote.
To view the entire ordinance as amended and voted on, go to the City’s “Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources and News,” on the city's website here.
For any questions regarding this ordinance, call 417-243-2780.