MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- The Webster County Commission approved a "stay at home" order amid coronavirus fears.
Photo courtesy: MGN
The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. March 26. It ends on April 24.
The order mirrors those adopted in neighboring Greene and Christian County. Click HERE to read Greene County's.
At this time, there has yet to be a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Webster County. However, the proximity of counties with confirmed cases presents a significant risk to County residents.
In summary, the Order encourages people in the unincorporated areas of Webster County to limit their discretionary activities, but offers broad exemptions to most agricultural, business and work activities.
Phillip Ragsdale has been a cattle farmer in Webster County for decades.
He said, "You got the do gooders out there that think that you don't ever need to be hurting an animal of any kind. But then, there does come a time where you've got to feed the people."
The stay-at-home order issued for people living in unincorporated parts of Webster County, set to start just after midnight Wednesday, does not pertain to the agriculture community.
"I think we're vital. A lot of people don't realize where there stuff comes from. A lot of them that stuff is grown in the grocery store, I guess, or at the meat market," said Ragsdale.
Webster County Presiding Commissioner Paul Ipock said, "The local feed store is like the Walmart but there's farmers in there. I think that as long as people get the word out to keep their six foot distance I think we'll be fine."
All non-essential businesses are asked to close or limit their activity. Businesses that will be open include grocery stores, gas, stations, restaurants for takeout and banks.
Unless you need to leave your house, you're being asked to stay home to prevent a spike in virus cases.
"We're doing this hoping that we can make a difference in everybody's lives and make this time of uncertainty shorter," explained Webster County Prosecuting Attorney, Ben Berkstresser.
"Better days are coming," said Ipock. Better days are coming."
"It could get pretty drastic if don't have some support and we're not given some leeway on some things. I don't have enough feed stored at the house. We have plenty of feed but I'm going to have to get out and go to some of the other places that I have it stored at to get it. These cows, they've got to eat something if they're going to live," said Ragsdale.
County leaders have been working with officials in Marshfield, Seymour, Niangua, Fordland and Diggins to get this ordinance adopted in those cities.
They are also working with the bishops in the Amish community to make sure they know what's going on and what they can do to prevent an outbreak.
If you have any questions, please contact the Webster County Health Department at (417) 859-2532.