City Ramps Up Non-Essential Enforcement

By: 
Joyce Coates
County Reporter
A letter went out last week signed by the “City of Warsaw,” which the City Clerk’s office said was sent to approximately 150 businesses licensed to operate in the city. 
Addressed to “Dear Warsaw Business Owner,” the letter advises recipients that (as Governor Parson of Missouri has done), the City of Warsaw has issued a Stay at Home Order, effective April 4, 2020, requiring non-essential businesses to “cease operations immediately and remain closed until April 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., or until the Order is otherwise extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing.” 
State and the City Stay at Home Orders define which businesses are essential and non-essential. However, business owners who are unsure how their business is designated may fill out a “Essential Business Determination” form that describes the services they provide, or the products or component parts they produce and why they are essential. 
Mayor Simons posted a notice on the City’s website dated April 3, 2020, describing steps the city has taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and a two-page “Press Release: Declaration and Order.” These documents and the ten-page “Order of the City of Warsaw, Missouri” that were not included with the form letter, can be found online at https://welcometowarsaw.com/covid-19-information-and-links/.
Mid-afternoon phone calls on Monday, April 13, to four Warsaw businesses to ask about the letter’s impact on their businesses went unanswered. However, Paula Wampler, owner of Paula’s Dog Grooming, called back on Tuesday morning in response to the voicemail message. Wampler said she had not received the city’s letter but had closed her dog grooming business as of April 6. 
“Business had already dropped off,” she said, “and several customers were rescheduling appointments to much later dates.” Wampler said she called the Health Department for advice the week before closing and was told she could remain open unless the State issued an order to the contrary. 
Among the others contacted, Kjar Law Office and Fox Small Engine Repair,  said they had not personally received the letter. Employees at O’Reilly’s Auto were unaware of the letter, and did not know if anyone else had received it. Their businesses fall within the essential categories.
Lisa Powell of Main Street Spirits said she had received the city’s April 6 letter. “I’ve met many wonderful people since the crisis began,” she said. Her business, designated as essential, has not been affected adversely. In fact, Powell said, she has been “extremely busy,” adding that she wishes the circumstances were different, but she is glad that her business has kept existing customers, and has been discovered by many new ones.
The City Order pertains to “All individuals currently living within the City of Warsaw,” who are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence except for essential activities, essential government functions or to operate essential businesses and operations.
Article 4-F of the Order lists forty-two (42) “Essential Businesses.” Therefore, the NON-ESSENTIAL services and PROHIBITED Activities described in the Order are listed below for the sake of brevity:
1. Dine-in services;
2. Self-service food or self-service condiments except self-serve fountain drinks served in new, unused disposable cups;
3. Businesses or independent providers of childcare or other dependent services except such services provided to employees of essential businesses, and while complying with social distancing requirements and with ten or fewer individuals in groups (a) whose members and providers do not change to other groups in the same day; (b) if more than one group in a single facility, each remains in a separate room, and (c) groups do not mix with each other.
4. Fitness and exercise gyms;
5. Esthetician services (i.e., facials, aromatherapy, hair and skin care, makeup, etc.);
6. Tattoo parlors;
7. Tanning facilities;
8. Spas;
9. Massage facilities.
10. Gatherings of ten or more people in a single room or space, not expressly permitted;
11. Activities at amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, museums, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds in public or private parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concerts and music halls, country clubs, golf clubs (except where no shared equipment and social distancing followed and enforced), athletic clubs.
NOTE: Prohibited activities DO NOT include outdoor parks and trails where patrons do not share equipment.
Warsaw’s two fitness centers have closed, designated among the non-essentials. Randal Postel said he received the city’s letter addressed to Integrated-Fitness in the mail; Brian Phillips at Warsaw Fitness said he had not received the letter; rather, the City Police came to his facility and told him he had to close.
Cole Camp City Clerk said the City has published nothing beyond the County Commissioners’ Order; Lincoln, Missouri’s Mayor posted on Facebook a Proclamation in line with the Stay at Home Order as directed by the Benton County Commissioners.
Finally, per Section 4.02. of Warsaw’s City Order on Enforcement: violation of the Order or failure to comply “is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.” Nevertheless, the City Clerk assures that in the event of problems, business owners would first have an opportunity to be heard and to take steps to resolve them.
 

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