A stay-home order issued by the Pike County Health Department the afternoon of Friday, April 3, aims to "ensure that the maximum number of people stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19 within Pike County while enabling essential services to continue."

The order will go into effect at 12 a.m. on Sunday, April 5. It comes the day the department announced the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pike County.

Pike County residents are ordered to stay home unless carrying out a specific set of activities, and all but "essential" businesses are ordered closed. The Health Department website now features a way to violations of the order (click the "Violations Reporting" tab).

Residents are allowed to leave the home to attend to the health and safety of themselves, their families or close acquaintances, to shop for food or other supplies or to engage in outdoor exercise provided they maintain the distance of at least six-feet provided for under the order's definition of social distancing.

Essential businesses include healthcare operations, grocery stores, farms, media outlets, gas stations, auto repair shops, banks, hardware stores, shipping services and laundromats, among others. Restaurants continue to be closed to in-person dining.

Workers at other businesses can come into the office as little as possible in order to "maintain the value of inventory and infrastructure, provide security, process payroll or employee benefits, or facilitate employees working remotely." Otherwise, work will have to take place from home or not at all.

The order is in effect through 11:59 p.m. on April 30. Violations of the order would be considered a violation of a state statute banning behavior that threatens public health.

The order was issued under Rhonda Stumbaugh's authority as health department administrator and county health official for Pike County. Pike County Presiding Commissioner Chris Gamm, Eastern District Commissioner Bill Allen, Western District Commissioner Justin Sheppard and Pike County Emergency Management Director Al Murray signed on in support of the order.

Lincoln County issued a similar order a week ago. Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons issued a statewide order later in the day on Friday. All but eleven states have done, according to figures last updated Friday by the New York Times. A state-wide order for Illinois went into effect March 21.

UPDATE: This article was updated after Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons announced that he would be issuing a statewide stay-home order Friday evening.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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