The City of West Plains Says Non-Essential businesses That Stay Open Could Face Fines Or Jail Time

Non-essential businesses which remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic are in violation of the City of West Plains’ Stay at Home Order, and the West Plains Police Department is warning violators of potential consequences as the City tries to safeguard public health and safety.

The Order and accompanying City Ordinance was issued by City Council March 27 to protect the community from the transmission of the deadly virus, which has now been confirmed in Howell County. The Stay at Home Order extends through 11:59 pm April 15, unless further actions are needed to extend the Order.

Businesses deemed as providing “essential” activities are allowed to remain open during the Order, but still must follow social distancing rules of at least six feet per the President’s mandate. The City of West Plains follows guidelines from Homeland Security on determining essential and non-essential businesses.

Businesses found to be in violation of the Order will first be issued a warning, and then asked to close down if they are unable to provide the appropriate documentation showing they are essential, according to guidelines from Homeland Security. If the business remains open in violation of the Order, the business could receive a summons from the Police Department. Punishment could be a fine or jail time.

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