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The Cole County Commission approved an ordinance Thursday to prohibit unsolicited door-to-door sales in the county to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The ordinance states: "No person, business, or organization may solicit sales or orders of any good or service on behalf of a for-profit business by going onto the property of another without first being invited onto the property of another."

The commission is authorized by state statute to make such ordinances to "enhance public health and prevent and mitigate the entrance of communicable disease into the county."

Violation of the order would be considered a misdemeanor offense. The order became effective Thursday and will continue to be in effect until the commission decides to rescind it.

This mirrors a similar ordinance enacted by Jefferson City on Wednesday.

Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher said the county had been receiving calls from residents about door-to-door sales and concerns about potential virus exposure because it is spread through close personal contact.

"People don't have to answer their door, or they could put a sign on their door saying they won't be going to the door," Hoelscher said.

Sheriff John Wheeler said he has been getting calls about people going to homes inquiring about work to fix roofs or vehicles following last Friday's hail storm.

"What we've found is that some people have come from out of state, places like Louisiana and North Carolina," Wheeler said. "Those states have no travel orders issued because of COVID-19, so we're wanting to stop the potential spread from those individuals. We've also had reports of some of out-of-state workers trying to get hired by local repair businesses to help on jobs, so we've been warning business owners about that. Our advice to property owners who have had weather damage is to choose wisely and go with local businesses for your repair work."

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