Modified Boone County health order in effect starting today

Posted on 18 September 2020 at 4:51am

BOONE COUNTY- Entertainment venues, bars and restaurants no longer have to stop serving alcohol at 9 p.m. and close at 10 p.m., according to the Boone County Public Health Department.

In the new order, businesses that serve alcohol must close at 10:30 p.m. 

Stephanie Browning, Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Director, issued Public Health Order 2020-11 and 2020-11(c) Wednesday afternoon.

The order goes into effect 12 a.m. Sept. 18 and are set to expire on 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 6, unless otherwise extended, rescinded or modified. 

All restrictions under the previous health orders remain in effect. 

Modification details include:

  • Entertainment venues, bars and restaurants serving alcohol must close at 10:30 p.m. The restrictions on stopping alcohol service at 9 p.m. is no longer in effect. 
  • Bars, restaurants and other food establishments that do not comply with the Orders are considered to be in violation of the food code and may require the establishment to discontinue operations and remain closed until an Operation Plan is submitted and approved by PHHS as stated in section 1.20
  • Operational Plans are now required to be submitted 14 days in advance of an event rather than the previous requirement of 30 days.

The county cites a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases since the order went into effect on Aug. 28. According to the release, the five day average of new positive cases peaked on Sept. 5 at 143.4, but later fell to 65.2 on Sept. 16. 

"While this is a promising change in our data, we are cautiously optimistic. We hope that extending this order can help continue slowing the spread of COVID-19 so that we are able to begin slowly loosening restrictions without seeing increased cases again," Browning said. 

This new order comes just one day after Boone County announced over 12,000 missing COVID-19 negative tests from a lab in the county.

With those missing tests, the positivity rate in the county was changed to 24.1 percent. While still high, it's an improvement over the 44 percent rate the county was previously reporting.

Bar owners in downtown Columbia reacted once the new rate was updated, citing the need for the original order in the first place.

Sean Conroy, owner of International Tap House on 9th St. said, "I think if this policy was based on that it needs to be at least expanded, and corrected."

While the new orders are in place, Health Department Assistant Director Scott Clardy said they would have put the original order in place regardless.

"The positivity rate being 8 point something percent instead of 44 percent wouldn't have changed those actions that we were taking then," Clardy said.