ST. LOUIS ( - Public gatherings of more than 1,000 people will be prohibited in St. Louis City until further notice as concern over coronavirus grows, city officials announced Thursday.

The announcement was made at a press conference Thursday afternoon with Mayor Lyda Krewson, Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson and others.

Even though there have been no reported cases in St. Louis City, Krewson said the move is being made out of an abundance of caution.

“It's not a question of when but if in the City of St. Louis,” said City Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols.

Echols said the restriction on gatherings does not apply to schools, crowds at the Gateway Arch, museums or at churches. 

“The city is prepared for this,” Jenkerson said.

Krewson said she could not estimate the economic impact but said it is "not an insignificant number."

"There will be a devastating economic impact but not as devastating as having many, many cases of COVID-19," Krewson said.

President of the Board of Alderman said the city loses about $70,000 with every St. Louis Blues game not played. The city loses about $200,000 with every St. Louis Cardinals game not played. 

Echols said only three tests have been performed in St. Louis City and all came back negative.

The city installed hand washing stations around downtown St. Louis to make sure everyone has access to clean water and soap. This is a preventative measure taken by the city to slow down the spread of coronavirus. 

"This is a very challenging situation and a very fluid situation," Krewson said. "What we know now and the decisions that we've made over the last day and a half is different than what we knew three days ago or five days ago or seven days so we will continue to make good decisions and keep you updated, keep the public updated as this situation progresses."

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