Missouri’s statewide restrictions end, allowing local businesses to get back to work

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — Missouri’s governor says it’s time to get back to business. 

Tuesday marked the first day after Gov. Mike Parson lifted his statewide pandemic restrictions, offering Missourians the option to observe guidelines from the Center for Disease Control without penalty.

Local health officials said safety should still come first, though pandemic-related safety measures are no longer mandated by law in Missouri.

Parson’s “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan” officially began Phase 2, designed to help Missouri businesses get back on their feet Tuesday.

Parson lifted restrictions that had been in place for roughly 90 days. Tuesday’s milestone eliminates statewide health orders for counties that followed the governor’s plans instead of creating their own local advisories regarding coronavirus.

Workers at Kurzweil’s Country Meats, the popular Harrisonville restaurant that doubles as a meat market, said they’ve followed Parson’s restrictions explicitly.

Cheyenne Ames, a cashier at the popular eatery, said the store has restricted contact with customers and dealt more prepackaged food than freshly prepared meals. Ames also said she believes some practices from the coronavirus era make sense, and she believes they’ll remain in place.

“I think everyone is working their way back into it. We installed a hand sanitizer machine, and we have to wear gloves constantly because we touch your food,” Ames said Tuesday.

Cass County health officials said restrictions are lifted, but good sense should remain.

Andrew Worland, the county’s health director, said he believes the governor’s restrictions helped flatten the pandemic curve. Worland said it’s his stance that every person should continue to practice good hand hygiene, to socially distance and wear masks in public to safeguard against a second spike of COVID-19.

Worland said health officials expected to see a slight drop in cases during the summer months.

“We know it’s still out there. We know it’s still going to be spread,” Worland said. “We’re outside a lot more. We’re not confined to closed spaces as much. We do expect some decline, but it hasn’t gone away. That’s our fear — that people will think it’s gone away, and it’s no longer a problem.”

Worlen advises the public not to be fooled by small upticks in diagnosed coronavirus cases.

He said Cass County as well as other Missouri locales continue to make testing more readily available. Worlen said it’s simple math that more testing will lead to more cases, but that will lead patients to get the care they need. 

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