Perry County stay at home order begins Thursday

A stay-at-home order has been issued for Perry County, Missouri, going into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

The order, sent to the Southeast Missourian by Perry County Clerk and Election Authority Jared W. Kutz, continues until 12:01 a.m. April 24 or "until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by further order."

The order, from the County Commission and county health officer, applies to all areas within the county.

"By enacting this order, it is the express intent to ensure that the maximum number of people stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19 within Perry County while enabling essential services to continue. All provisions of the order shall be interpreted to effectuate this intent," the order read.

People living in Perry County are being ordered to stay at home or their place of residence except as the order allows.

"To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces when outside their residence, they must at all times, and as much as reasonably possible must adhere to social distancing requirements," the order stated.

"Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this order but are strongly urged to obtain shelter. Individuals whose residence is unsafe or becomes unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location. For purposes of the order, homes or residences include hotels, motels, campground, shared rental units, shelters and similar facilities," the order stated.

"All public and private intentional gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes permitted by the order. Any intentional gathering of more than ten (10) people in a single space or room is prohibited unless exempted by this order. Nothing in this order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or residence of individuals who reside in such residence," the order read.

"All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, ... shall be closed to the public," the order stated. This includes golf clubs "with the narrow exceptions of playing golf where there is no shared equipment by the participants and driving ranges where social distancing requirements are strictly followed and enforced."

"All public parks and open outdoor recreation areas are encouraged to remain open. Because playgrounds may increase the spread of COVID-19, all playgrounds shall be closed with appropriate notices posted," the order read.

The order said leaving home for "essential activities" is permitted. The essential activities are "specifically related to health and safety, the procurement of necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, for certain types of work and to care for others."

The order "allows travel into or out of the county to perform essential activities, operate essential businesses, or maintain essential governmental functions or minimum basic operations."

"Schools and other entities that ordinarily provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this order provided that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a delivery or pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities, other than childcare facilities, that provided food services under this paragraph shall not permit the food to be eaten onsite," the order read.

"Non-essential business and operations must cease" all activities, the order said, except the "minimum basic operations."

The order stated all businesses are "allowed to maintain the value of inventory and infrastructure, provide security, process payroll or employee benefits, or facilitate employees working remotely. For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home)."

"Restaurants and retail food establishments that normally prepare food for on-site consumption are prohibited from conducting any dine-in food service; however, such businesses may provide pickup, drive-through, or deliver services so long as such business otherwise complies with this order," the order said.

"All essential businesses and operations are encouraged to remain open," the order read. "To the greatest extent feasible, essential businesses and operations shall comply with social distancing requirements."

Exempt from the order are "all 911 call center employees, fire personnel, corrections personnel, healthcare employees, hazardous material responders from government or the private sector, workers maintaining digital systems infrastructure supporting law enforcement and emergency service operations, first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, court personnel, law enforcement personnel; and people designated by the applicable governing authority are necessary in the performance of essential government functions are exempt from this order to the extent such people are performing these functions."

There is nothing in the order to prohibit any person from performing or accessing essential governmental functions, the order said.

"Violation of or failure to comply with this order is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both such jail time and fine," the order stated.