Joplin Issues Social Distancing Order, No Dining In At Restaurants, Bars


With today’s directive from the State of Missouri ordering all citizens to practice social distancing, City Health Director Dan Pekarek emphasizes the significance of this step to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“It is key that our citizens understand that this is a critical time for the community,” said Pekarek. “Although we have not experienced many cases in our area, we have to believe that there are persons infected with COVID-19 in the community. Most people will get mild symptoms and may not recognize they could be a carrier of the virus. By avoiding unnecessary outings, citizens are helping their fellow neighbors. We appreciate their compliance to this order.”

To protect public health and prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services ordered the following in accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:

  1. Every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than ten (10) people. For purposes of this Order, “social gatherings” shall mean any planned or spontaneous event or convening that would bring together more than ten (10) people in a single space at the same time.
  2. Every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid eating or drinking at restaurants, bars, or food courts; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed throughout the duration of this Order.
  3. People shall not visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance.
  4. Schools shall remain closed. This Order does not prohibit schools from providing child care and Food and Nutritional Services for those children that qualify. Teachers and staff may enter the building as long as they follow the directives set forth in this Order. 

People may still visit a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as necessary precautions are taken, maintaining at least six feet of distance between all individuals that are not family members.

For offices and workplaces that remain open, individuals shall practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVID-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this Order will expire.

This directive from the State of Missouri supersedes the local ordinance passed last week that kept groups to 50 or less.

“This reduction in crowds will help alleviate the passing of germs often associated with large groups,” said Pekarek. “It also removes the possibility of dining inside a restaurant and will require citizens to get their food either through pick-up, drive through or delivery. These measures for the next two weeks will be crucial to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19 in our community and we appreciate everyone’s support and patience as we go through this unfortunate time.”

The Order will take effect beginning 12:01 A.M. Monday, March 23, 2020 and remain in effect until 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 6, 2020 unless extended by further order of the Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services with said extensions not to exceed the duration of the effective period of Executive Order 20-02.

For more information about COVID-19, visit our website: or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at .

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