ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Missouri Gov. Mike Parson issued a statewide stay-at-home order after weeks of criticism from residents and state officials.
The governor made the announcement on Friday. The stay-at-home order went into effect on Monday, April 6 as coronavirus cases reached 2,864 around the state and 47 people have died. The order is set to expire on April 24.
As of Friday afternoon, a total of 24,727 Missourians were tested for the virus and 2,213 of them tested positive, that's 8.5%. Almost 22% of those who tested positive are hospitalized, the governor said. There are cases in 76 counties in Missouri. Six million people live in Missouri.
“There comes a time when we have to make major sacrifices in our lives. Many of us make sacrifices each and every day, but now more than ever, we must all make sacrifices,” Parson said. “This is not about any one individual person. This is about our families, friends, neighbors, and the entire state of Missouri. For the sake of all Missourians, be smart, be responsible, and stay home, Missourians.”
The order does not prohibit people from going to grocery stores, gas stations or banks.
The state issued these guidelines for the order:
- Individuals currently residing within the state of Missouri shall avoid leaving their homes or places of residence.
- All individuals in the state of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
- All public and charter schools must remain closed for the duration of the Order.
- Any entity that does not employ individuals to perform essential worker functions, as set forth in guidance provided by the federal government, shall adhere to the limitations on social gatherings and social distancing.
- Any entity that employs individuals to perform essential worker functions, and that is engaged in retail sales to the public, shall limit the number of individuals in any particular retail location as follows:
- Twenty-five (25) percent or less of the entity’s authorized fire or building code occupancy, as set by local authorities, for a retail location with square footage of less than ten thousand square feet (10,000 ft²);
- Ten (10) percent or less of the entity’s authorized fire or building code occupancy, as set by local authorities, for a retail location with square footage of ten thousand square feet (10,000 ft²) or more.
For weeks, Parson called it 'individual responsibility' to maintain social distance and stay safe. Before the governor's order, 41 counties in Missouri had issued their own stay-at-home orders, a third of the state's 114 counties. St. Louis County and St. Louis City's orders went into effect on March 23.
Parson issued a statewide social distancing order on March 21 and was set to expire on April 6. The first confirmed coronavirus case in Missouri was announced on March 7.
The St. Louis City Board of Aldermen and Board President Lewis Reed sent a letter to Parson on April 2 urging him to implement a statewide order.
"The state of Missouri needs to come together as one voice," the board said in the letter. "We stand united in the City of St. Louis. We ask you to unite and protect our entire state. COVID-19 knows no boundaries."
Locally, St. Charles, Jefferson, Lincoln, Gasconade, St. Francois, Crawford, Phelps and Iron counties all issued stay-at-home orders. Franklin County and Ste. Genevieve counties have restrictions on gatherings and restaurants and business closings but no official stay-at-home order. The counties of Phelps, Pike, and Washington have promoted state guidelines but have not issued a stay-at-home order.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order in the state on March 20 when the state had 585 confirmed COVID-19 cases and five deaths. Thus far, 41 states have issued stay-at-home orders around the country as cases nationwide have topped 245,000 and 6,000 have died.