The city of Hannibal has issued a shelter in place order for its residents.

In a press release Thursday, Mayor James Hark said that, after consulting with city officials and confirming Governor Parson’s federal emergency declaration for the state of Missouri, he is asking all non-essential businesses in Hannibal to close and for all citizens not part of the essential business workforce to shelter in place.

Hark says residents can still venture out for food, gas, medical supplies or treatment, or other vital services, but to limit those trips when possible.

Hark cites the continuing spreading of the COVID-19 virus, nationally and in northeast Missouri, as the reason for the new restrictions.

Here is the Mayor's full statement:

"As witnessed over the past weeks, the COVID-19 disease is spreading not only across the country, but in several locations around the state. Statistics are showing the disease in Missouri is affecting young and old, with the age group of 20-39 making up a large portion of those testing positive for COVID-19.

As your Mayor I feel it necessary to establish certain guidelines to attempt to protect each other, and after consulting with the Emergency Management Director and the City Manager as well as confirming Governor Parson declaring a federal emergency for the State of Missouri, I want to reinforce that all non-essential businesses in the City of Hannibal should close. Essential businesses may remain open. A list of those businesses identified as essential by the federal government has been posted on the City of Hannibal’s website and Facebook page.

So what more can we do? In an attempt to reduce the number of cases in our community, you must shelter in place. Citizens and friends, again this is based on the increase of positive cases in the state and surrounding area. This means residents should remain in their homes UNLESS you have a vital reason to go out or are part of the essential business workforce. If you have a vital reason to go out, such as a trip to get food, gas, medical supplies or treatment, or other vital services, limit those trips when possible and limit the number of persons from your household who go. While out in the essential businesses, practice social distancing staying at least 6 - 10 feet away from others and practice good hygiene habits. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

In Tuesday’s press conference from the White House, Vice President Pence called upon all Americans to continue to stay home if at all possible. Further, he stressed how important it was for us to abide by State and Local authorities, as the more EVERYONE adheres to these guidelines and orders to stay home and “shelter in place,” the quicker America will be back up and running.