JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson is urging Missourians to take individual responsibility to stem the spread of the coronavirus, including altering holiday plans with family.
“It’s up to me and you to change the way we choose to do Thanksgiving,” Gov. Parson said. “You know what’s at risk, who’s at risk and what’s important… This virus is everywhere. It’s in our communities, it’s in our families, it’s in our businesses.”
Parson buckled down on his position against a state-issued mask mandate. He said he encourages people to wear masks, but he is opposed to creating a mandate from his office.
“The holidays are coming, and as the governor of the state of Missouri, I am not going to mandate who comes in the front door of your home,” Parson said.
However, the governor said people need to act and do what’s right to stop transmissions. He said hospitals are under major stress, and many don’t have the staff to keep up with the demand. That’s creating issues with treating other situations, such as car accidents and other serious health conditions.
Just this week, Missouri’s hospitals experienced a 23% increase in COVID-19 patients, breaking the previous record.
“At this very time, your risk of getting COVID-19 is the highest it’s ever been,” Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said at the news conference.
Parson announced an extension of the State of Emergency through March 31, 2021. He said his office is looking at possible solutions, including involving the military.
He also said he supports local governments creating stricter orders, including mask mandates.
“I do truly believe in local control, and we will continue to support the decisions that they make,” he said.
But ultimately, he said it comes down to each individual situation going into Thanksgiving and later holidays.
“Our Thanksgiving will not look the same as it has in years past,” he said about his own family. “My in-laws are in their 80s. They both have underlying health conditions, and I’m not going to expose them, and my family wont expose them, to the possibility of COVID-19 when we don’t have to.”