Jackson County lifting business capacity limits

By The Examiner staff

Jackson County says it will lift capacity restriction guidelines April 9, the same day the state opens vaccine eligibility for all Missouri adults.

County mask mandates and social distancing protocols will remain in effect.

The county announced Friday afternoon that starting April 9, all businesses can open at full capacity, all restaurants and bars can operate at full capacity and there will be no capacity limits on gatherings. In all cases, masks and social distancing will still be required.

April 9 also marks the day phase 3 of the state’s vaccination plan goes into effect, which makes all adults eligible for the vaccine. 

Starting Monday, Missouri activates phase 2 of its vaccination plan, opening eligibility to those in fields such as construction, manufacturing, higher education and remaining food and agriculture sectors not already eligible. The phase also includes the homeless and disproportionately affected populations such as racial and ethnic minorities. About 880,000 additional Missourians will be eligible under phase 2.

In a release, County Executive Frank White Jr. said people need to continue wearing face coverings and keeping social distance in public spaces, out of respect for those waiting to be vaccinated, so that the area doesn’t lose the progress it has made combatting the pandemic.

“If we remain diligent in our prevention efforts,” White said, “we will be one step closer to getting back some normalcy in our daily lives.”

Bridgette Schaffer, director of the county Health Department, said the department is focused on vaccine education, access and signing up as many as possible for shots. 

“We look forward to receiving increased vaccine supply in the coming weeks,” Schaffer said in a release.

The city of Independence will evaluate its public health orders on April 7, a spokesperson said, and announce any changes at that time. 

Both the city and county last month raised business capacity to 50 percent and allowed restaurants and bars to resume normal business hours, and Independence lifted its limit on gathering sizes, with masks and social distancing still in effect.