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Parson doesn’t plan to move up Missouri’s reopening phases

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson confirmed he has no plans to move up Missouri’s reopening phases as of yet — despite lowering rates of positive COVID-19 cases.

“June the 15th is where we’re at on that, and we look at everything every day,” Parson told The Missouri Times during his Wednesday briefing. “We’ve got a lot of things going on right now in the state of Missouri: You’ve got COVID-19 we’re dealing with every day, summer starting to open back up, different activities normal people are out, that’s why we’ve increased the testing. You’ve got the protests going on out there, and there are risks involved in that. We just need to see where we’re at with everything.” 

The original plan was for Missouri’s first reopening phase to end on May 31. Parson extended the first phase through June 15, saying it would “give these communities more time to prepare and align us at the state level as we continue working toward phase two.”

The percentage of positive cases has decreased in Missouri over the past few weeks, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) said Wednesday. According to DHSS, the number of positive cases in the state has “remained relatively stable” while the number of daily tests has increased. 

More than 13,700 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Missouri as of Wednesday afternoon; an additional 786 people have died. 

The initial phase of reopening Missouri requires individuals to adhere to social distancing practices (staying 6 feet apart) while engaging in activities. The phase also has no caps on social gatherings as long as social distancing is practiced. 

During this phase, retail stores and restaurants are allowed to operate — albeit, with restrictions to the number of people inside at the same time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.