Cole County non-essential businesses open up

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JEFFERSON CITY — Cole County non-essential businesses are opening back up after the county's stay-at-home order expired on Saturday, April 25. 

Businesses that were considered non-essential, like River City Florist, are able to open back up to the public under certain guidelines.

Lauren Moscato, co-owner of River City Florist, said they have been faced with new challenges.

"Times have been really weird," she said. "I don't have events, I don't have weddings, I don't have funerals, I don't get to do the Governors Mansion because everything's closed."

But Moscato said she's grateful her flowers allow her to keep her business going.

"Luckily we are in the business of delivering," she said. "It involves no contact."

Yesterday, they reopened their storefront and said they are using safe practices, including social distancing.

"I am going to allow less than 10 people in the store, including employees," Moscato said.

Chezney Schulte, Cole County Health Department communicable disease coordinator, said she encourages people to take a look at all the guidelines for reopening.

"It allows for physically distancing still," Schulte said. "We're still focusing on 6 feet of distance between different family parties."

She says they are viewing all businesses as essential now.

"We've initially done the essential vs. non-essential businesses," she said. "We are going away from that language with the Governor saying that everyone is essential for the functioning of the economy."

Governor Parson announced the reopening of non-essential businesses for the state of Missouri on May 4, but with certain limits.

"The Governor specifies that retail businesses are the ones that have the occupancy loads of the 10% vs. 25% based on their square footage," Schulte said.

While happy to be reopening, Moscato says it might take awhile for things to return to how they were.

"I think people will be excited again to go out and shop and breathe fresh air and be social and go out for lunch you didn't make at home," Moscato said. "I think things will go back to normal, but it's not going to be by May 4."

Business owners around Missouri should go to the Governor's website to find out what guidelines their business needs to follow.

"I think people are a little hesitant to just act like nothing happened," Moscato said.