JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An hour after Missouri’s health department reported the state had crossed the threshold of 5,000 positive cases of coronavirus, Gov. Mike Parson announced his statewide stay at home order would continue.
The order, which went into effect April 6, was originally slated to carry through April 24. Parson said Thursday he extended the order through May the 3 “so we can prepare to reopen the economy and get Missourians back to work.”
More stringent orders are in place at the local level, and multiple officials, including Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, extended those mandates earlier this week.
Parson said his extended order has two phases “intended to protect those most at risk” of coronavirus. The first phase focuses on health care workers, first responders, and other “direct care workers;” the second is geared toward reopening businesses.
Parson also has a four-part “Show-Me Strong Recovery Plan,” he said:
- Expand testing capabilities, especially for those who are contagious or have developed immunity
- Expand Missouri’s reserves of personal protective equipment (PPE) through opening public and private supply chains
- Monitor and potentially expand hospitals’ and health care systems’ capacity, including through alternate care facilities
- Improve ability to predict potential outbreaks through Missouri’s own public health data
Getting the state reopened will depend on evolving local, regional, and statewide data, Missouri’s chief executive said.
Parson, who declared a state of emergency on March 13, first directed the state health director to order statewide social distancing. That order includes instructing Missourians to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people and abstain from eating in restaurants and bars.
The statewide stay at home order came after weeks of criticism and required designated essential businesses “engaged in retail sales to the public” to limit occupancy to no more than 10 percent of the entity’s business or fire code occupancy for properties of at least 10,000 square feet. It limited the occupancy to no more than 25 percent of the entity’s code for those less than 10,000 square feet.
It required individuals to remain in their homes unless to access an essential service, like a grocery store or pharmacy.
And last week, Parson ordered school buildings to remain closed, with remote learning to continue through the remainder of the academic year.
Lawmakers are expected to reconvene in the Capitol in 11 days with a potential focus on the state budget and other economic issues in the wake of the ongoing global pandemic.
As of Thursday afternoon, 5,111 Missourians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 152 people have died.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.