On the first day his Show Me Strong Recovery Plan allowing for the reopening of businesses in the state went into effect, Gov. Mike Parson announced that he will be extending four of his COVID-19-related executive orders through June 15.
Monday also saw Missouri’s largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with many of those tied to a meat processing plant in northwest Missouri.
Among the executive orders extended were those mobilizing the National Guard for virus response efforts and suspending some state regulatory requirements. The extensions match the end date of Missouri’s state of emergency declaration.
On Monday, Parson said he and his wife traveled to businesses throughout the southwest corner of the state, including Joplin and Springfield.
“It was encouraging to see how these businesses as well as so many others across Missouri have adjusted to these challenges and the precautions they are taking to keep employees and customers safe and moving forward,” Parson said.
Parson discussed his decision not to wear a mask unless the business he visited required it.
“There’s been a lot of discussions about masks: Do you wear a mask? Do you not wear a mask? A lot of information on both sides of that, but I’m gonna go back to what I’ve said all along: It really goes back to your personal responsibility,” Parson said. “Do you want to wear a mask? Do you not want to wear a mask? If you’re going into a business and they want you to wear a mask, then wear a mask or don’t go in the business.”
Parson was joined at his news conference by Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, who announced that the first federal CARES Act payments to local governments have been processed.
Fitzpatrick also serves as the chair of an informal working group Parson first announced April 10 to make recommendations on how the state should use money received via the federal CARES Act.
Fitzpatrick said that as of Monday afternoon, payments totaling approximately $468 million have been processed to 106 counties and St. Louis City, which local governments will be able to access in their accounts by Wednesday. The money counties receive can be used for coronavirus-related expenses any time between March 1 and Dec. 30 of this year.
He also said that several counties have not submitted completed required certification forms, meaning they will not be eligible to receive their funding until the forms have been submitted. The counties include Osage, Platte, Randolph, Stone, Clinton and Clay.
Fitzpatrick also said the state provided guidance to counties about how to best use the money they receive, and instructed them to keep records justifying the use of the money for when the state is audited by the federal government.
“Missouri has been a national leader in distributing these funds to local governments this quickly,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s my understanding ... that other states are planning to use the certification form developed by the state of Missouri as the basis for their own distributions to local governments.”
As of 2 p.m. Monday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services was reporting 8,754 cases of COVID-19 in the state and 358 deaths. The case total increased by 368, Missouri’s largest one-day increase to date.
Parson and DHSS Director Randall Williams said that this is partially due to almost 400 of the people tested at Triumph Foods in Buchanan County testing positive. Those results have been coming in for the past several days.
In addition to broader testing statewide, the state has been focusing testing on areas where outbreaks at specific facilities have been detected, including Buchanan County and long-term care facilities, especially in the St. Louis area.
At the Triumph meat plant, for the people who tested positive, the state is still trying to determine whether the primary point of contact is at the plant itself or where they live. Of those who are positive, only 200 live in Buchanan County, whereas the rest tend to live in Kansas City, either on the Kansas side or the Missouri side.
He also noted that many of the people who are testing positive related to the plant are asymptomatic.
Also Monday, the Senate passed a bill that would prevent the state from taxing COVID-19 federal stimulus checks.
Under Senate Bill 704, the $1,200 tax credits would not affect the calculation of federal income taxes Missourians can deduct from their state taxes. It would also not be included in adjusted gross income.
Reporter Maria Benevento contributed to this report.