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Parson extends emergency declaration as COVID-19 deaths climb


Gov. Mike Parson extended Missouri’s emergency declaration until mid-June as the state’s death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 260 as the week closed. 

The Republican chief executive originally declared a state of emergency on March 30. Since that executive order, more than 450 state regulations and statutes have been waived or suspended to help Missourians and businesses cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, his office said. 

The emergency declaration is in place until June 15. 

Still, Parson said he plans to open the state by May 4, ending a statewide stay at home order. The stay at home mandate — which came after surmounting political pressure — instructed Missourians to only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as work, outdoor activities, and grocery shopping. 

“I want to be clear that this is not an extension of the ‘Stay at Home Missouri’ Order,” Parson said in a statement. “Extending the emergency declaration simply allows us to continue utilizing our resources and deploying them around the state, even as we move into the recovery process. This also enables us to keep all of the waivers or suspensions of state statutes and regulations in place while we adjust to the reopening.” 

Several counties and local municipalities across the state enacted more stringent stay at home orders despite the statewide mandate. But others, such as Cole County, have relaxed restrictions. 

And lawmakers are returning to the Capitol despite the order. 

As of Friday afternoon, more than 6,600 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus, and at least 262 people have died. The Missouri Department of Corrections has reported an outbreak at the Southeast Correctional Center where at least two dozen inmates have contracted the virus. 

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