In Christian County’s version of a localized leadership summit, three top elected officials appear together in an online video encouraging citizens to abide by stay-at-home orders.
Christian County Presiding Commissioner Ralph Phillips, Ozark Mayor Rick Gardner and Nixa Mayor Brian Steele released the video March 26, the day that 30-day stay-at-home orders began across the county of about 90,000 people.
All of Christian County is under a local state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the nation. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior services reported 356 cases and eight deaths linked to COVID-19 as of March 25, the day that the Christian County Commission voted 3-0 to impose a stay-at-home order on all citizens.
“We’re asking everyone in the county to stay at home if they can, and to work from home if they can,” Phillips said.
The orders in Christian County, Ozark and Nixa are consistent with each other when it comes to defining “essential activities” and “essential businesses.” They also match orders enacted in Greene County and inside the city of Springfield to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Careful consideration was given to this order as it was written. We believe this is the right thing to do, right now,” Gardner said.
The three elected officials spend some of the video listing businesses defined by the laws as essential. They add that businesses outside of the essential classification can still operate during the stay-at-home order, with some restrictions and recommended adjustments.
“We want to be clear that you can still do direct support services necessary to ensure that essential business and government activities will not have to cease operation,” Gardner said.
While government work is protected as essential business, the governments of Christian County, Ozark and Nixa have adjusted their operating procedures under the stay-at-home order.
“We will be using phones, email and video conferencing tools to continue to conduct city and county business wherever possible,” Steele said, “and we’ve identified what staff members can begin working from home.”
The three elected officials asked Christian County residents to continue maintaining all social distancing guidelines from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
“We understand this order affects the lives of everyone in our community,” Steele said.