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Branson city leaders impose restrictions, only essential businesses to remain open

In an emergency special meeting held Monday, March 23, 2020, at Branson City Hall, the Board of Aldermen voted 5 to 1 on the first reading and 5 to 1 on the second and final reading with Alderman Kevin McConnell voting no both times, to amend Chapter 58 of the Branson Municipal code to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the City of Branson by restricting non-essential business operations, public and social gatherings, and forcing social distancing amongst individuals in the City.

The authority for this ordinance is laid out in Section 79.380, RSMo which permits the Board of Aldermen to “make regulations and pass ordinances for the prevention of the introduction of contagious diseases in the city, and for the abatement of the same, and may make quarantine laws and enforce the same within five miles of the city.”

This ordinance has the following components that will go into effect, starting Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 8:00 a.m.:

· Prohibits public and social gatherings of more than 10 people.

· Requires social distancing of six feet or more amongst non-family members.

· Prohibits non-essential businesses from operating in the city.

· Prohibits on premises eating and drinking at any restaurant or business open to the public.

· Allows essential businesses to remain open as long as they don’t exceed 25% of their occupant load in enclosed public places. Daycares and medical facilities are exempt from occupant load requirements and for lodging establishments only the public areas are considered.

· Prohibits visitation to nursing homes, long term care facilities, retirement homes or any facility where the number of guests over the age of sixty outnumbers those under the age of sixty unless that visit is to provide critical assistance or care.

For purposes of this Chapter only, essential businesses are day care facilities which serve employees of essential businesses, health care facilities, grocery stores, convenience food stores, service stations, drug stores, pharmacies, public service or telecommunication facilities, financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, government offices and facilities, lodging establishments, and restaurants or other businesses as deemed essential by the Emergency Management Director or the City Administrator.

Violations of this ordinance carry a range of punishment of up to ninety days (90) in jail or up to a 500 dollar fine as set in the general penalty provision in Section 1-13 of the Branson Municipal Code. This ordinance will sunset when the emergency proclamation of the Mayor expires.

To view the entire ordinance as amended and voted on, go to the City’s “Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources and News,” on our website, at http://www.bransonmo.gov/805/Coronavirus-Information.

For any questions regarding this ordinance, please call (417) 243-2780.

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