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ST. LOUIS – Missouri’s Democratic nominee for governor, State Auditor Nicole Galloway, called for a statewide “wear mask mandate” as she began unveiling her plan to fight COVID-19.   

She’s making stops across Missouri to promote the plan.

Stop one was at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall in St. Louis, Tuesday.

Galloway planned to stop in Columbia, Missouri on Wednesday.    

“The most important thing the next governor of Missouri will have to do is defeat the virus and get Missouri’s economy back on track. As governor, I would issue a statewide mask rule,” Galloway said. 

She was wearing a mask when she said it. 

That statewide mandatory “wear mask” order is the cornerstone of her plan, which would also establish state guidelines for reopening schools; a state Coronavirus Task Force and Response Team; along with a state Economic Relief Council.  

Masks and universal Coronavirus testing were critical to getting people back to work and school, she said. Under her plan, only school districts with infection rates below 10 per 10,000 could fully reopen; the state Task Force would be patterned after the White House Task Force, made up of medical and public health officials, providing daily briefings, and directing policy based on data, not politics, she said. 

The state Response Team would help use CARES Act funding for critical contact tracing and Personal Protective Equipment, with the Economic Relief Council made up of business and labor leaders to guide policy on keeping Missouri companies in business.    

“Our economic recovery is dependent upon containment of COVID,” said Galloway. “That means masks, requiring folks to wear a mask. It means universal testing and true contact tracing. Close to 70 percent of Missourians want a statewide mask order because it is a ticket to freedom. It is a ticket to seeing the Blues play again in person and going to Cardinals games. It will help open up our economy by containing the spread of the virus. I do think this is the defining issue of our time.”    

Her Republican opponent, Governor Mike Parson, encourages people to wear masks but has not issued a statewide order. She scarcely mentioned one of his key issues: soaring violent crime, especially here in St. Louis. He’s called a special legislative session to address it. Galloway sees the pandemic and resulting economic fallout as fueling that crime spike.