JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — On Monday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson released the first phase of his “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan,” which he says will be a “turn of a dial not a flip of a switch.”
The governor’s plan to gradually reopen Missouri will begin May 4, the day after his statewide stay-at-home order ends. This first phase will continue through the end of May.
However, it’s important to note that local stay-at-home orders supersede the state reopening if they are stricter. Therefore, Kansas City and Jackson and Platte counties’ orders will continue through May 15.
Similar to President Donald Trump’s guidelines, Parson’s plan for Missouri is based on four pillars:
- Expand testing capacity and volume in the state
- Expand reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains
- Continue to monitor and, if necessary, expand hospital and health care system capacity, including isolation and alternate care facilities for those that cannot self-quarantine at home
- Improve ability to predict potential outbreaks using Missouri’s public health data
Phase One of the plan brings a lot of changes for Missourians after several weeks of staying home.
For starters, there will no longer be a ban on public gatherings of 10 or more. However, although all businesses will be able to reopen, they will still have some guidelines.
“This is not a return to normal. Instead, this is the beginning of a new normal and all of us, our businesses, our communities, our citizens are going to have to learn how to operate safely,” said Rob Dixon, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
The plan allows for restaurants to reopen their dining rooms, but tables and seating must be spaced out by 6 feet to meet social distancing guidelines. Drive-thru, delivery and curbside pick-up services are still encouraged.
Retail businesses will be able to reopen but will be limited in public capacity during Phase One. Stores under 10,000 square feet should limit the public to 25% of their authorized fire or building code occupancy, and those over 10,000 square feet should limit the public to 10% of their occupancy.
Places of worship can reopen and hold in-person services as long as they maintain social distancing. Parson is encouraging churches to avoid common traditions like passing communion cups and shaking hands and continue streaming services.
Barbershops, hair salons, gyms, community centers, aquatic centers and libraries will be allowed to open for public use so long as people are able to keep a safe distance from one another.
However, the governor noted the social distancing requirement doesn’t apply for workers who are unable to perform their job while keeping 6 feet apart — like hair stylists and tattoo artists. In those cases, businesses are encouraged to implement their own safety measures.
Organized athletics and camps are allowed to operate, but Parson is encouraging organizers to make adjustments — such as limiting participants, modifying activities, restructuring programs and increasing sanitation — to keep everyone safe.
The governor’s initial plan also allows events at larger venues as long as there’s 6 feet between attendees. This applies to amusement parks and attractions, concerts, funerals, museums, school graduations and weddings.
But some aspects of life during the coronavirus pandemic will stay the same during Phase One.
Schools in Missouri should still remain closed for the rest of the semester, with classes held remotely.
Keeping with guidelines from the President and the CDC, visitors will still not be allowed at Missouri nursing homes, retirement communities and other long-term care facilities.
Additionally, Parson said high-traffic areas like playgrounds, where equipment experiences a high frequency of touch and use, should remain closed.
You can read more about the governor’s plan and find a FAQ and the full order at this website.
As of Monday afternoon, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 7,171 cases of COVID-19 and 288 deaths affiliated with the virus.
Nearly 71,000 tests have been performed in Missouri as of Sunday.
Monday’s briefing was marred by interruptions from protesters inside the Capitol, demanding Parson reopen the state immediately and without condition.
Some members of a group wanting Missouri to reopen immediately are inside the Capitol. @GovParsonMO is about to deliver his daily briefing. They say they want the Governor to hear their voices. pic.twitter.com/eD9t0w9fmv
— Jeff Bernthal (@JeffBernthal) April 27, 2020