JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Protestors rallied outside the Missouri Capitol Tuesday afternoon in hopes of putting pressure on Governor Mike Parson and his administration to reopen the state as soon as possible.
“We are Americans, we are smart, we are clever, and we are capable,” said demonstrator Debra Kohl. “We can figure out a way to protect those that are vulnerable and let the rest of America go back to work.”
Several signs held by protestors read, “Jobs are essential.”
Demonstrators also marched along the sidewalk in front of the Governor’s mansion after they rallied outside the Capitol. Missouri is currently under a stay-at-home order that was put in place to encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The state reports 5,941 cases of COVID-19 and 189 deaths as of Tuesday.
“There are other people that are vulnerable as well,” said Reopen Missouri organizer John Schisler. “People who live paycheck to paycheck, people who have lost their jobs, parents whose mental health is wearing thin. They have no certainty about their future.”
Lawmakers joining the demonstration included State Rep. Tony Lovasco (R-St. Charles), State Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove), Rep. John Simmons (R-Washington) and one of Parson’s primary challengers.
State Rep. Jim Neely (R-Cameron). Neely is also a physician. He believes the demonstration is a sign Missourians want the stay-at-home order lifted.
“It’s another message for decision-makers to say you know what, let’s get back to work,” said Republican State Rep. Jim Neely.
Parson was asked about the demonstration during a media briefing held inside the Capitol Tuesday afternoon.
“They have every right to do that,” said Parson.
The governor said his administration is ready to start reopening the state May 4th. He gave more specifics about what business will reopen during Tuesday’s briefing. He said service area businesses will be among the first to reopen.
“Whether that’s restaurants, whether that’s beauticians, barbershops, whether it’s box stores, they’ll all be all I’ll be open in our guidance,” said Parson. “We will give them the opportunity to open.,” said Parson.
The governor did say local health departments could keep their own stay at home restrictions in place, even after the state lifts its statewide stay-at-home order set to expire after May 3rd. He also said nursing homes and casinos are examples of businesses where discussions are taking place to determine when they could resume normal operations.