St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced a series of new restrictions and programs this week aimed at curbing rising COVID-19 numbers, including a 50-person event limit, new occupancy rules for businesses and a requirement for bars to close after 10 p.m.
St. Louis County has had the most COVID-19 cases and deaths of any county in the state, totaling 11,507 known cases and 636 deaths – as of Monday, July 27 – since the start of the pandemic. The county accounts for about 27 percent of the state’s cases and more than half of the deaths but makes up only about one-sixth of the state’s population.
Page listed seven new rules and programs in a news conference Monday as part of a four-week rollback of some reopening measures after the county saw five days in the previous week that broke the daily record high for new COVID-19 cases.
The new restrictions include:
- Gatherings and events limited to no more than 50 people beginning Friday, July 31, at 5 p.m.
- Business occupancy limits rolled back to 25 percent, down from the previous 50 percent level established on June 29.
- All late-night service at bars will be closed after 10 p.m. closed starting Friday, July 31.
- A process for closing businesses not following guidelines.
- All those waiting for COVID-19 test results will be told to quarantine until they get their results.
- All health care providers must report COVID-19 test results promptly. Page said some providers, particularly urgent care centers, have lagged in reporting, making it more difficult to identify and control outbreaks.
- The county will provide teachers with places to quarantine when schools reopen this fall. “This fall they will be on the front lines,” Page said.
Page said during the news conference he thought the school year in the county would begin with all virtual instruction, with students hopefully returning to in-person instruction later in the fall.
Page said he did not expect the trajectory of infections to be affected by the new restrictions for at least three weeks, due to the latency period of the disease.
“The rate of rise that we see today will get much worse before it gets better,” he said.