Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order Friday that extends Missouri’s state of emergency through June 15. The state of emergency was first declared March 13 and was originally set to expire May 15.

The extension of the emergency declaration is not an extension of the statewide stay-at-home order, which is set to expire May 4. Parson said the state is still moving forward with “reopening Missouri” May 4 and that a plan will be officially introduced next week.

“Extending the emergency declaration simply allows us to continue utilizing our resources and deploying them around the state,” Parson said. “This also enables us to keep all the waivers or suspensions of state statutes and regulations in place while we adjust to the reopening.”

Parson said the reopening plan will include guidelines for small and large businesses, restaurants, church services, outdoor functions and summer activities. Parson also said the state is working with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to “hopefully” develop a process for senior graduations.

Parson said “certain measures” of social distancing will still be a priority and some communities will be able to reopen more quickly than others.

“If local leaders decide additional measures should be implemented, they may add to the current guidelines,” Parson said.

When asked when personal care businesses, such as hair salons and barber shops, will be allowed to resume and how people will be able to maintain social distancing in those businesses, Parson said they will be able to open May 4. He said it will be up to businesses and customers to decide their comfort level in doing business, with some state guidance on things like protective equipment.

“I don’t think you’re going to need government to regulate every thing about how you run your business,” Parson said. “I think, for one, the business will take it upon themselves to make sure the customers feel safe, and frankly the customers are not going to go there if they don’t feel safe.”

Parson said while they don’t know exactly how much money will be cut from the state budget, it will be around $700 million, and that “everything is on the table” in terms of which areas are at risk for cuts. Parson said he has also given his budget recommendations.

As of Friday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 6,625 cases of COVID-19 in Missouri, including 262 deaths. The department announced via Twitter that results from one commercial lab were not submitted from April 16 through April 22 due to a technical difficulty that was identified and corrected yesterday. Friday’s increase in numbers is not due to a spike in new cases identified within the last 24 to 48 hours, according to the department’s site. A delay in reporting the number of deaths from a jurisdiction is also partially responsible for the increase in deaths since Thursday.

Watch the full briefing on Facebook Live here.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Spring 2020 state government reporter. I am a senior studying data journalism. I can be reached by email at ashlynohara@mail.missouri.edu or on Twitter at @ashlyn_ohara.

  • Mark Horvit is the state government editor. Call me at 817-726-1621 with story ideas, tips or complaints.

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