COLUMBIA, Mo. – The COVID-19 health orders for Boone County and the City of Columbia expire Wednesday and will not be renewed, according to city and county officials.
The decision not to renew or reinstate the health order is contingent on the current trend of vaccination rates and case numbers continuing to improve. Boone County currently leads the state in vaccination rate with 44% of the population having received at least one dose and 34.2% being fully inoculated.
Stephanie Browning, Director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, said that they will issue COVID-19 recommendations after the health order expires, rather than mandated protocols.
COVID-19 and the ensuing health orders in Columbia/Boone County negatively affected many business owners across the area.
Richard Walls, Owner of The Heidelberg, said it put a strain on him as an owner to comply with the health order while still trying to keep up with his business.
“We closed for a month and our sales were down,” Walls said. “2020 sales were down over $750,000.”
Wade Bradley, Owner of Dickey’s BBQ and Catering, ran into an unexpected issue when trying to keep his business afloat amid the health protocols last year.
His business was forced to rely on third party delivery services such as GrubHub and DoorDash to keep sales at an operational level.
“The problem with those sites is they all take 20-30 percent so it was really much less profitable even though the net sales sometimes showed higher,” Bradley told The Heartlander. “Sales have actually been up but profits have been down.”
Business owners weren’t the only ones looking forward to Wednesday. The expiration of the health orders are being celebrated across the area as residents will be able to visit restaurants, bars and events at full capacity again.
“Part of it was honestly morale,” Bradley said. “When they announced it, there were a lot of people that came in commenting about it and you could just tell there was a better attitude. You could just tell there was a different feeling. People were just like, ‘Thank God we can get back to some normalcy.’”
The health orders expire at noon on Wednesday, May 12th. However, officials have noted that if cases begin to spike again, new orders will be issued for the county.