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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has directed all state employees to return to in-person work by May 17.

“With COVID-19 vaccines now readily available across the state and virus activity at its lowest levels since early days of the pandemic,” Parson said. “We are confident that it is safe to return to pre-COVID-19 work settings and schedules.”

Along with the return of state employees to their offices, the governor said that all state buildings will be open and accessible to the public and operate under normal business hours.

COVID-19 health protocols and testing will remain in place and the state encourages employees to receive the vaccine.

“Since the start of COVID-19, our state team members have gone above and beyond to keep state government running and continue providing quality public service to Missourians,” Parson said. “Thanks in large part to their efforts, Missouri is in a strong position, and we continue to move forward each day.”

Parson added that it is important for the state to take these steps toward “normalcy.”

Some state workers have been working from home since March 2020.