ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. ( -- St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann is urging restaurant and bar owners to be vigilant as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The letter was sent to 1,401 bar and restaurant owners in St. Charles County Thursday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

It was not, however, sent to businesses in St. Peters because the county does not license them, a spokesperson told News 4.

"For months, our county had been able to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, seeing just slow, gradual growth in the community. Unfortunately, we are now facing a severe rise in positive cases, a significant increase in hospitalizations, as well as an increase in the number of deaths. The hospitalizations have put a strain on all inpatient medical services. For these reasons, I am calling on each county resident to do what is necessary to help us get this virus under control," the letter said.

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It continues, "So, it is with the utmost urgency that I again must call upon you to do what is needed in this all too important battle. Protecting the health of our community has been my top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have told you that you are part of the team responsible for the health of St. Charles County’s citizens. This has not changed. You are needed now more than ever to take this responsibility seriously."

Earlier this week, Ehlmann urged county residents to change their behaviors to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Currently, there are no county-wide COVID-19 restrictions in place, only recommendations regarding precautions. Regarding a mask mandate, Ehlmann told News 4 he does not want to mandate something he cannot enforce.

Ehlmann goes on and says, "I am aware that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a very busy bar evening for many of you. Crowds not wearing masks and not respecting six-foot distancing requirements represent an imminent health hazard. The Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Division will be out in force that evening ensuring you are taking the steps necessary to ensure the safety of patrons."

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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