Christian County Presiding Commissioner Ralph Phillips March 24, 2020

Christian County Presiding Commissioner Ralph Phillips (right) spoke at a press briefing on stay-at-home orders issued in Springfield March 24, at Springfield City Hall. Phillips is pictured alongside a sign language interpreter at the press conference.

More restrictive social distancing orders will soon be in effect in Springfield and in surrounding communities in effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure announced an order set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. March 26, a 30-day order limiting the movement of people in Springfield to lessen the risk of people contracting the virus from infected persons.

“The order requires Springfieldians to stay at home, except for essential activities, as our community continues to work to sow the spread of COVID-19,” McClure said. “After extensive review, it is my belief that the order requiring all of us to stay home is the right thing to do right now.”

Christian County Presiding Commissioner Ralph Phillips briefly took the podium at the mayor’s press conference March 24, at which point he explained that the Christian County Commission will vote on a similar order on the morning of March 25.

Phillips thanked the Springfield mayor, the Greene County Commission and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department for collaborating with Christian County officials on the decision to issue the stay-at-home order.

“It’s important to know that while we are a separate county, the majority of our residents are employed in Greene County,” Phillips said.

It’s estimated that more than 75 percent of Christian County’s population commutes into Green County for work each day.

“There is not a perfect line that rims the city of Springfield city limits, and how we serve our region, especially the health care that is provided in our community reaches beyond our city borders. That’s why our partnerships and collaborations are so important,” McClure said.

McClure said it’s important for people to take the order seriously, and only leave home for “essential activities.” Essential activities are defined as working in essential businesses, obtaining supplies or necessary services, exercising and maintaining personal health, caring for a loved one or seeking medical care.

“We understand the financial and emotional toll that this virus has taken on our families and on our businesses. We are working hard to create every opportunity possible to ease some of this strong financial burden,” McClure said.

The Springfield mayor also stressed that southwest Missouri residents should listen to the recommendations of the medical leaders who encouraged the stay-at-home order, and heed those recommendations.

“What is really at stake here are people’s lives--our lives, our children’s lives, our parents’ lives,” McClure said.

Under the Springfield law, persons deemed to be in violation of the stay-at-home order may be charged in criminal court with a misdemeanor.

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