Cancellations continue during pandemic

Friday, March 20, 2020

County still case-free, state advising gatherings be less than 10 people

Fallout from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is ongoing this week, with southwest Missouri still mostly isolated from any major developments.

As of Tuesday, there were 183 confirmed cases statewide and three deaths, with no cases in Barry or Lawrence counties. Jasper and Christian counties each had one case, and Greene County had 14. For a live map of cases in the state, people may visit https://tinyurl.com/vy5l94n.

David Compton, Barry County emergency management director, said people are still urged to use caution and follow Gov. Mike Parson’s recommendations.

On Saturday, Parson ordered the following through April 6:

• In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. For purposes of the Order, “social gatherings” shall mean any planned or spontaneous event or convening that would bring together more than 10 people in a single space at the same time.

• In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 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 the Order.

• In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, people shall not visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance.

• In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, schools shall remain closed. The 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 the Order. 

The Order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as necessary precautions are taken and maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including 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 the Order will expire.

Local public health authorities are hereby directed to carry out and enforce the provisions of the Order by means of civil proceedings.

Compton said Health Department and Emergency Management officials continue to meet with community organizations, local government officials, businesses, local media and citizens to provide the most current information regarding the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With schools on wellness break through April 3, other entities are postponing or canceling events, or changing how they operate.

The Kinder Academy and kindergarten screening dates have been postponed, and new dates will be announced at a later time.

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is closed to the public until April 6. Anyone wanting to renew a CCW Permit or would like to be issued a New CCW Permit will have to wait until April 6. Penalties for renewal will be waived until July 6.

Sex offenders needing to register by the end of March will need to call the office at 417-847-6556 and register by phone. If registration is due in April, contact the office after April 6 and staff will advise whether to register in person or by phone.

“We will still assist the public by phone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday,” Sheriff Gary Davis said. “This closing will be evaluated and extended as needed.”

In light of growing concerns, SKITS has made the difficult decision to postpone its spring play, “Farce of Nature,” until further notice.

“Our top priority at SKITS will always be the health and safety of all guests, volunteers, actors and others involved in bringing the arts to Shell Knob,” said Kim Przybyl, first vice president of SKITS. “Members and sponsors will still enjoy their benefits over two plays, no matter when the plays take place. SKITS sincerely thanks you for your support and understanding.”

Also in Shell Knob, the Central Crossing Senior Center may be closed for the activities and services, but one service is available that is new for area seniors.

Drive-thru meal pickup is available. Anyone wanting a meal may come to the Center between 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., pull up under the canopy and honk once or twice (please do not lean on it), and one of the staff will bring out a meal to go.

“You will have to heat it in the microwave but you will get out of the house for a short time and see one of the friendly staff and have a meal you didn't actually have to make,” a press release said.

The Central Crossing Senior Center is located on YY-15 just a short distance past the Ozark Villas and Mountain View Estates. For more information, people may call 417-858-6952 and speak to Terri.

Other local businesses are also affected. Haven of the Ozarks has temporarily closed its doors to the public in the interest of protecting the health of its staff and adopters.

ACCESS Family Care announced on Monday it established a team to review guidance from the American Dental Association to only se patients for emergency issues.

This review led to the very difficult decision to suspend all elective, routine hygiene, and non-emergency dental procedures until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADA, and/or other regulatory bodies indicate it is responsible to reschedule patients,” a press release said. “This suspension of care is effective March 23. We sincerely apologize to our customers as we know this will be a major inconvenience and gap in healthcare.

“With great pain and heartache, this suspension of customer care has led ACCESS Family Care to layoff 60 employees assigned to Dental Services and patient care. We cannot express how hard we attempted to avoid this devastation to our team. Our dental care team is one of the most caring and compassionate in the nation. Our dental team is the third largest community health dental team in the state of Missouri. They serve with empathy and compassion every day. They love their patients.”

ACCESS Family Care is hopeful the ADA guidance, pandemic conditions and economic climate quickly recover.

“We are hopeful to recall as many or all of our laid off team as soon as possible,” the release said. “We will maintain a small dental team, at each of our dental clinics, to see urgent and emergency patients, those with pain and swelling. Patients may email info@accessfamilycare.org, or visit our website at www.accessfamilycare.org to request an emergency appointment.”

As of Thursday, Freedom Bank lobbies are closed until bank officials feel the risk of spread has diminished. Drive-thru windows will remain open during their regular business hours.

“In order to provide the best service during these uncertain times, we have several ways to provide safe banking for our customers,” a press release said. “We encourage you to use Freedom Bank’s Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and Telebancservices for 24/7 account access. You can view transactions, transfer money, deposit checks, check balance, bill pay and more. Please visit www.freedombk.com for more information or download our app from your app store.”

Telebanc can be reached at 417-846-1700 or 800-694-4117.

“We understand that there are instances where you prefer to do in-person banking, so please let a banker at the drive thru know and we will assist you,” the release said. “You may also call any of the banking locations to talk to a lender or new accounts representative for assistance. Please avoid banking centers if you are sick, traveled to high risk areas, or have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

“Rest assured that our staff is taking extra precautions to keep areas clean for the safety of all. We will remain vigilant and continue to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and will continue to do so until further notice. Freedom Bank has always strived to support our community, and will continue to do so. We will get through this together. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you in this trying time.”

As of Friday, Arvest Bank also closed its lobbies, continuing to offer drive-thru and ATM services during normal hours.

“People helping people find financial solutions for life has been our mission statement for more than 20 years,” said Kevin Sabin, Arvest president and CEO. “In these unprecedented times, that help – and some of the solutions – may be delivered differently in some instances.”

Arvest is taking numerous other steps to meet its customers’ needs. The bank encourages customers who conduct routine transactions to use Arvest’s Online Banking with BlueIQ and Arvest GO mobile app platforms.

First Christian Church has altered its Sunday worship plan. There will be a service at the church, and it will be broadcast on Facebook.

“If you wish to attend [in person], you may,” a press release said. “If you do attend, please follow these simple precautions: 1. Sit in your family group. 2. Do not shake hands. 3. Have limited interaction with the elderly 4. Children must stay with their family group, and at all times be accompanied by an adult — no wandering around allowed. 4. Maintain a buffer of six feet between family groups. 5. No communion time will be observed.”

The church has also canceled all Sunday school and Wednesday evening activities, and it has canceled the carry-in lunch on March 29.

“It is our goal to return to normal scheduling on Easter Sunday, April 12,” the release said. “Contact the church office with any needs during this time at 417-847-2460 or 316-706-9661. Please call with your prayer requests. Please read your Bible during these difficult days, and spend much time in prayer.”

Out of an abundance of caution and in reaction to the presence of COVID-19 in Missouri, Missouri State Parks will temporarily close all campgrounds and lodging through April 30. This includes campgrounds, park-run lodging and concessionaire-run lodging. Missouri State Parks will remain open to the public, including day-use areas, boat ramps and trails.

All fees associated with camping and park-run lodging reservations, including reservation, cancellation and modification fees, beginning the night of March 27 through the night of April 30, will be refunded. Park staff will inform guests already in the campgrounds of this change and will work with them to adjust their reservations and on any needed refunds. The call center will contact campers with reservations who have yet to arrive.

If anyone has an existing reservation at a state park or historic site campground or park-run lodging, call the Reservation Call Center at 1-877-422-6766. The call center is open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At Roaring River, the Nature Center and Park Office will be closed, but employees will still be available to take calls during normal business hours.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has also announced it is temporarily waiving permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags for Missouri residents and nonresidents whose fishing privileges are not otherwise suspended.

The waiver of needing a permit or trout tag to fish will run through April 15. MDC will reassess the situation at that point. All season dates and limits will continue to apply and be enforced. 

“The current public-health emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has many Missourians and others looking for safe ways to get outside in nature,” said Sara Parker Pauley, MDC director. “Missouri’s rivers and streams offer high-quality fishing as a way for people to connect with nature while still complying with all health and safety recommendations. Fishing is also a great way to get some much needed physical and mental health benefits during this stressful time.” 

Pauley added that it is still critical for everyone to continue to heed all recommendations for hand washing, social distancing, and other public-health measures while fishing and during other outdoor activities, including maintaining at least six feet of distance between all individuals who are not family members.

Maramec Spring Park in St. James has been closed to all activities, but Missouri’s three other public trout parks — Bennett Spring State Park in Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, and Roaring River State Park near Cassville — remain open for day use and fishing.

To reduce possible increased social congregation, MDC will suspend daily trout stocking at all trout parks starting Friday and has suspended other fish stocking in waters around the state until further notice.

Anyone with questions may contact Missouri State Parks at moparks@dnr.mo.gov.

For the latest information on the Missouri State Parks response to coronavirus, people may visit www.mostateparks.com/response.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: