Guidelines for Businesses Restricted by Capacity Limitations
These guidelines are effective as updated on April 22, 2021 in St. Louis County. In accordance with the Department of Public Health’s (“DPH’s”) Fifth Amended Safer At Home Order effective April 9, 2021, (the “Order”). These guidelines may be replaced or modified by DPH based on new scientific information and local information including the trajectory of influenza-like illnesses, cases of COVID-19, and any other information deemed relevant to protect public health in St. Louis County.
The following guidelines do not supersede any existing St. Louis County Ordinance requirement or public health order.
Since the COVID-19 virus is easily transmitted in group settings, capacity limitations are necessary to limit the number of individuals in public places. These capacity limitations, in addition to face coverings, social distancing restrictions, and disinfection processes, have proved to be significant in the mitigation of the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
With the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in St. Louis County and throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area, it is imperative that additional mitigation strategies be employed to control the rapid community transmission of the virus. DPH’s Safer At Home Order limits certain businesses to capacity limitations and further limits gatherings to 10 persons or less. To address the widespread transmission during social interactions, banquet and conference centers, whether standing alone or within other businesses, such as hotels or other businesses, are now limited by the Gathering limitations, not capacity limitations. Additionally, all entertainment venues, including bowling alleys, arcades, and other similar venues, are subject to capacity limitations, cannot have gatherings or more than 10 persons, and must comply with the requirement to submit a proposed plan to the DPH for approval.
Under the Order certain businesses are subject to capacity limitations. Generally, these businesses are those that that engage in direct interactions with members of the public, such as retail businesses that primarily provide goods for sale, businesses that provide food or drink for consumption, personal services requiring sustained in-person contact, such as hair salons, nail salons, massage therapy and religious, spiritual and memorial services. Those businesses must:
- Limit the number of individuals in any particular location to the percentage allowed by current Order of the DPH, or less, of the facility’s authorized fire or building code occupancy.
- Install physical barriers between customers and employees where possible or otherwise ensure six (6) feet of distance between customers and employees, particularly in check-out lines, return-lines or any other place where there is prolonged contact between the customer and employee.
- In all areas which are prone to lines or congregation, install clear markings with signage, tape, or other means that show six (6) feet of distance as the appropriate spacing between customers.
- Provide signage inside and outside the facility outlining Social Distancing Requirements, limitations on crowd size, and procedures to limit crowd size.
- Prohibit customers from bringing outside containers, including reusable bags or boxes, into the facility.
- Establish hours of operation, wherever possible, for individuals at high-risk of experiencing adverse outcomes from COVID-19 as defined by the CDC.
- Arrange for contactless payment, pick-up and delivery options whenever feasible and provide postings as to the availability of such services.
- Follow any additional requirements as determined by general and business-specific operating standards, guidelines and/or protocols published by DPH.
Under the Order, some businesses may also have additional requirements as determined by general and business-specific operating standards, guidelines and/or protocols published by DPH. It is important that these businesses also refer to that those specific guidelines to insure compliance, including the re-opening dates of those businesses and activities.
Examples of businesses that are subject to the capacity restrictions of the Order, include, but are not limited to:
- All retail facilities – for example, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, household consumer stores, hardware stores, and garden centers. All of these businesses must follow the additional guidance entitled Retail Operations Guidelines.
- Personal service facilities – for example, nail salons, tattoo parlors, hair salons, and massage facilities. All of these businesses must follow the additional guidance entitled Personal Services Operating Guidelines.
- Gyms and other fitness centers – for example, martial arts, yoga, personal training facilities, and dance studios. All of these businesses must follow the additional guidance entitled Gyms and Fitness Centers Guidelines.
- Restaurants and Bars. All of these businesses must follow the additional guidance entitled Food Establishment and Bar Operating Guidelines.
- Religious Spiritual and Memorial Services. All of these services are allowed subject to the capacity limitations and the other provisions regarding social distancing and disinfection protocols. No additional local guidelines have been issued, however, some of the above requirements, such as barriers between those in attendance are not practicable or feasible in these settings, but the social distancing guidelines would be feasible. Please see the additional guidance for faith-based services at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations.
- Public Water Recreation Facilities – for example public pools and pools that serve more than one residence. All of these facilities must follow the additional guidance entitled Public Water Recreation Facilities Guidelines.
Examples of businesses that are not subject to the capacity limitations of the Order, include, but are not limited to the following:
- Urgent Care Centers
- Daycare Facilities
- Other businesses, such as professional businesses, that do not engage in direct interactions with the public, except if those businesses have conference rooms or other areas where individuals congregate or gather even if informally (public spaces, foyers, etc.), those areas are limited to 10 individuals or less. These businesses must also follow the additional guidance entitled Business Offices Operation Guidelines.
Examples of businesses that are required to submit a plan to DPH in accordance with the Safer At Home Order include, but are not limited to the following:
- Entertainment and amusement venues
- Bowling Alleys
- Concert venues
- Commercial or professional sporting events
- Any non-school sponsored affiliated sports activity that is classified as high-frequency of contact sports, played by individuals 14-18 years of age, if a plan has not yet been approved by DPH prior to November 17, 2020.