City of Springfield, Greene County imposes new gathering limits; 4th coronavirus case confirmed

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 5:24 PM CDT
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Following White House recommendations and consultation with other local and state officials, Mayor Ken McClure issued an order amending which public gatherings are prohibited under an ordinance passed Monday.

The mayor’s order prohibits public gatherings of 10 or more persons except for educational institutions, daycare facilities, and daily business operations in the corporate limits of the City of Springfield until April 1. The Greene County Commission adopted similar legislation Tuesday a as well.

Daily business operations shall not include the following, which shall be closed to the public during the time this order is effective: businesses offering entertainment, amusement, and recreation, bars, taverns, or food establishments offering drinking or dining-in, except for lawful delivery, pickup, and drive-thru services that may be offered by said businesses, bars, taverns, or food establishments.

Unless the order is extended, the limit for group gatherings will go back to 49 through April 15.

The ordinance passed yesterday authorizes the mayor to issue an order amending which public gatherings are prohibited to protect public health; establishes a penalty for violating the prohibition; and declares an emergency pursuant to City Charter Section 2.12. The ordinance is in effect for 30 days, but will be extended if the proclamation of civil emergency is renewed.

The purpose of the mayor’s order and the ordinance is to minimize community spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The mayor has the authority to amend which public gatherings are prohibited, either in number or in type, if in his judgment the prohibition should be amended to protect public health.


Existing officers that regularly enforce code regulations regarding public assembly, including police and fire officers and health inspectors have the ability to enforce this ordinance. Any person who shall violate this provision shall, upon conviction, be punished as provided by Springfield City Code Section 1-7. Penalties range from 0 - $1,000 and/or 0-180 days in jail.

Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard also announced a fourth case of the coronavirus in our area. The person had contact with a foreign traveler. So far, the county has tested 84 people. It placed another 39 in quarantine, but they do not have symptoms. The case is the state's ninth case.

"Today's decision was a tough one," said Clay Goddard, Director, Springfield-Greene County Health Department "The decisive action is needed and our elected officials took that decisive action to help break the chain of infection and protect the community's health."

"Businesses offering entertainment, amusement and recreation and bars, taverns or food establishments offering drinking or dining in. The only exceptions will be for delivery, pick up, and drive through services offered by these establishments," said Springfield Mayor Ken McClure.

City leaders are encouraging these establishments and their customers to find creative yet distant ways to conduct transactions.

"You are indeed paving the way for us to operate under a new business model brought about by this very challenging new reality," said McClure.

Greene County presiding commissioner Bob Dixon, "We are in it together to look out for our neighbors but a sense of calm and peace, I think at this time is, the most important thing that we want to convey."

"If we can find a way to work through this next two weeks and do this right we can make a huge difference in this community," said Goddard.

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