Friday, April 3, 2020 ~ Updated 11:20 AM
By Leonna Heuring/Standard Democrat
BENTON, Mo. — In an effort to further combat the coronavirus, Scott County has adopted a stay-at-home order, effective at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
The Scott County Commission met Thursday and passed a Scott County Ordinance for the COVID-19 response, according to a news release from Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Oesch. The ordinance is a collaborative effort with the Scott County Commission, Scott County Sheriff, Scott County Health Department, Scott County Prosecuting Attorney and all of the city municipalities in Scott County.
“This ordinance was drafted and approved after extensive research, communication and consideration by the Commission and cities,” Oesch said Friday. “We as a commission and community leaders of Scott County take this responsibility extremely seriously. We understand this is a time of uncertainty that can cause fear and anxiety.
She continued: “We hope the citizens understand that we are doing what we feel is best to protect citizens’ safety and health. There is not a fool-proof plan. We all have to work together as a community and county to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The prosecuting attorney said county officials anticipate questions concerning this ordinance and what it means for citizens of Scott County.
She provided the following synopsis of the ordinance:
— The ordinance IS a “stay-at-home” order for citizens of Scott County.
— The authority is granted through the Missouri Revised Statutes. A violation is punishable as a misdemeanor.
— This does NOT limit essential business operations, or employees who travel to or from essential business employment.
— This does NOT limit citizens to travel for “essential activities,” such as picking up groceries or supplies. — This does require businesses that are not deemed “essential” by the Homeland Security definition to close as of the effective date and time.
— This does NOT change what a majority of our citizens are already doing. This does NOT prevent “going outside.”
“Finally, we want people to understand that the municipalities have come together to work on this ordinance in unison,” Oesch said. “We want consistency throughout Scott County.”
The Scott County Sheriff’s Department and local police departments will have the power to issue citations or make arrests for violations of the ordinance. The Scott County Prosecutor will be responsible for overseeing prosecution of violations.
“We are encouraging citizens with questions to refer to the ordinance and the Department of Homeland Security document for defining essential businesses,” Oesch said.
Scott County First District Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn offered appreciation to “everyone for stepping up and signing on in record speed.”
“On Tuesday of this week we (commissioners) met with Barry Cook, head of the health department, and the county prosecuting attorney, Amanda Oesch,” Ziegenhorn said. “At this meeting, we asked Amanda to prepare an ordinance for all city and county leaders to read, discuss and agree on. Within hours this was sent out and signed by all.”
This ordinance is to help address the health and safety of all citizens, Ziegenhorn said.
“Our intent is to keep people away form each other so that this not going to spread even more throughout the county,” Ziegenhorn said. “We’re not trying to close the world. Our goal is just to keep people safe.”