CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — The Camden County Commission and Camden Health Department have made public gatherings of more than 10 people illegal, through at least the end of the month. But does the emergency law have teeth?
Specifically, the Health Department order reads, "As advised in the President’s 15 Days to Slow the Spread Campaign, Recreational facilities, conference, event, and banquet facilities, wedding venues, gyms, bars, restaurants, and any other public facility or event will limit their patrons to 10 or less, provided they can assure there is adequate spacing of at least 6 feet between groups and adhere to all cleaning and disinfecting guidelines from CDC… This will be in effect until the campaign is officially ended by the President or is continued by the CDC." The order also makes gatherings of 50 people or more illegal, even after Trump's "15 Days" campaign ends; the order will not expire until the Health Department ends it. The County Commission unanimously adopted it as a county ordinance.
The Camden County Sheriff's Department says they'll be enforcing the law. Organizations found allowing gatherings that violate the Health Department order will be subject to enforcement action, said Captain Chris Twitchel. He said the violation would be considered an unclassified misdemeanor. "So that means the businesses will be held accountable for not following the order," he said.
However, Twitchel added, the sheriff's office will only be reacting to complaints, and will not be actively looking for violations.