JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – Governor Mike Parson has directed the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director to order statewide social distancing. The move is to help protect the health and safety of Missouri citizens and frontline workers.
The order does not prohibit people from visiting places like grocery stores, gas stations, parks or banks as long as necessary precautions are taken to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Those precautions include maintaining at least six feet distance between all individuals that are not family. Parson is asking for people to work from home if possible to prevent the spread of the virus.
During an afternoon press conference, Parson said, “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for all citizens to practice social distancing and abide by this order, which is backed by intense deliberation and knowledge.”
The Governor’s office sent out a press release with the measures included in the order:
- In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than ten (10) people. For purposes of this Order, “social gatherings” shall mean any planned or spontaneous event or convening that would bring together more than ten (10) people in a single space at the same time.
- In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid eating or drinking at restaurants, bars, or food courts; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed throughout the duration of this Order.
- In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, people shall not visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance.
- In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, schools shall remain closed.
Three Missourians have so far died from the virus and the number of confirmed cases of the illness nearly doubled from Thursday to Friday. The total number of confirmed cases in Missouri was at 73 by the state’s count Saturday, up from 28 on Thursday.
St. Louis County officials said Friday that a woman in her 60s, who suffered from multiple health problems prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19, died at a hospital. Officials don’t yet know if she had traveled or how she became exposed to the virus.
Also Friday, on the other side of the state, Jackson County officials said a woman in her 80s died. She had not recently traveled, raising concerns about community spread, which is when experts can’t figure out how a person caught the disease.