Health officials encourage residents to continue precautions as businesses continue to reopen

Missouri's reopening plan started today, May 4th.

CARTHAGE, Mo. – The sounds, smells, and people are finally back at Cave Gang Pizza and Pub in Carthage.

“There’s a little bit of awkwardness because it’s been a while, but then yet it feels right at home too,” says owner Eli Bruton.

The restaurant’s dining room has been closed for six weeks, during which they’ve done delivery and carry out.

But now, they are one of many businesses able to reopen their doors.

“Almost feels like when we first opened. Like we’re getting another run at our first try,” says Bruton.

And over at Revel Boutique, also in Carthage, the owner is working on gearing up to reopen on Saturday (May 8th).

“We’re gonna only do two items in the dressing room at a time. Of course, we’re gonna follow the guidelines of no more than ten people in the store at a time. We just have a lot to do to even prepare to be open again,” says boutique owner Heather Orscheln.

But what should residents do when they start going back to those businesses?

“Assume that there are still people in the community who could potentially be carrying this, and you should take all precautions to protect yourself,” says Jasper County Health Department director Tony Moehr.

Moehr says it’s important that residents not get too relaxed and continue to take precautions, so that fewer people get COVID-19.

“People need to get out and use your local businesses, but you need to make sure that you’re still social distancing,” says Moehr. “If you’re ill, stay at home. People are probably sick of hearing that by this time, but I mean, that’s the bottom line is that’s the best way to keep it from spreading is to do those things to protect yourself and protect others.”

If there is a sharp increase in cases, Moehr says that it could prompt more restrictions.

“I think the state and the local [health departments] are just monitoring what effects this has and do the effects necessitate other actions,” says Moehr.

Jasper county and Carthage are following the state’s reopening plan.