City will follow Phase 2 of state reopening plan

    The city of St. James will enter Phase 2 of Governor Mike Parson’s statewide Show Me Strong Recovery Plan, slowly reopening city facilities. Plans are already in place to open the pool for the summer later this month and the city is looking at opening other facilities such as the community hall, historic train depot, and more following the guidelines presented by state health officials.

    “We all know that COVID-19 is still here and has not been cured. So, there is still going to be some social distancing we would like (residents) to follow,” Mayor Rick Krawiecki said. “The city will continue with most of the policy changes from our different departments starting at different times to keep them separated.”
    The pool is tentatively set to open for the summer on June 19, with plans to keep people distanced as they wait to enter. The pool will have an occupancy  limit, people will only be allowed to enter the pool once per day, there will be signage to encourage users to maintain their distance, and staff will be making increased sanitization efforts.
    “We are not going to just open it up and let everyone run wild,” Krawiecki said. He asked the community to be patient as the facility reopens, as this is a unique circumstance park staff are unaccustomed to during normal operation and there will be a learning curve. Information regarding the pool reopening, rules, and other information can be found on the Tiger Shark Waterpark Facebook page.
    On June 16, the playgrounds were reopened at the parks. “We’ve ordered some soap dispensers for the restrooms and encourage parents to have their kids wash their hands frequently,” Krawiecki said. Parents are encouraged to help their children wash often as playground equipment will not be disinfected between each use due to the lack of manpower available to do so.
    Fall sports are still being planned and Sports Director Kristi Rich is working with area coaches to organize those activities. Plans are also in place to open city owned buildings for rental and community use.
    “The community hall and old depot, we’ll start renting that out again. We’ll clean and stock the restrooms, but we cannot disinfect all the tables and chairs, so keep that in mind when you rent the facilities,” he explained.
    Users of the facility will be responsible for their own disinfection of surfaces while they use city owned facilities and are encouraged to plan on taking safety precautions during their time there.
    “We do not have a date to open the rec center yet. We’ve been using the facility to hold our city council meetings so we have to move things around to see if we can get that open,” Krawiecki said. More information will be available on the city Facebook page as it becomes available.
    The Chamber of Commerce will be holding its annual July 4 fireworks celebration, Krawiecki said, but this year’s location will be different, as the Missouri Veterans Home will not be allowing the use of its grounds due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Chamber of Commerce is working on locations where the display can be viewed and will be releasing additional information in the weeks leading up to the event.
    “The Center for Disease control is still recommending social distancing as the best prevention of COVID-19, so it’s our personal responsibility to make sure we are doing that,” Krawiecki said. He encouraged residents to take safety precautions as the state reopens and to do their best to follow social distancing and sanitizing often during this time.
    The Municipal Center (city hall) also reopened to the public on June 16 for those needing to handle business at the facility. “Again, we all know that COVID-19 is not gone. We again encourage our citizens to continue social distance as much as possible. As always, your health and wellbeing is our biggest concern here,” Krawiecki said.