Joplin’s Mayor discusses the next step in reopening the city

JOPLIN, Mo. – The City of Joplin is looking at moving into the next phase of reopening.

Phase two of the city’s plan is broken down into four steps. The second of those is allowing businesses to have up to 50% of their maximum occupancy in the building at one time. That occupancy is determined by your maximum fire occupancy as determined by the fire marshal.

Mayor Gary Shaw is hopeful that step two will be implemented within the coming days. “We, believe that Monday night we’re going to recommend to the council for their consideration that we go ahead and step into phase two, which broadens the door open a little wider and allows us to do a few more things.”

However, each provision of the city’s reopening plan, has a fallback incase COVID cases begin to spike. “If we start opening things up and there’s not a problem then maybe we can even open them up quicker, but there’s also that safe guard there that if we start opening things up and we see that it’s a problem, then we can kind of catch ourselves and stop.”

Ashley Wakefield owns Sophie in downtown Joplin, and she says she’s not worried about welcoming more people in at a time. “We have no more than 5, 10 people in here at a time, so for us, it doesn’t really, even the 25% capacity hasn’t really affected us much.”

In fact, Wakefield says she’s ready to get back to normal. “I think that people want to get out and support their local businesses and I think they want to kinda get back to some normalcy, so I think in any way that we can do that safely, I think we should.”

Mayor Shaw says the city is still here to help businesses make the right steps to getting back on track. “So if you’re a business and you see opening 50% is going to help you some, but there’s something else that might help you a little bit more, call down there and talk to the city manager’s office, or talk to the city attorney, or you can ask for the mayor, and we’ll try and get you the information and see if we can’t work with you.”

Click here for more information on the city’s COVID recovery plan.