During Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced the first phase of the “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan outlining how Missouri will gradually begin to reopen economic and social activity on Monday, May 4.
Governor Parson was joined by Missouri Hospital Association President and CEO Herb Kuhn, MO HealthNet Director Todd Richardson, Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams, and Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten.
“With favorable data and approval from state health officials, we are ready to take another step forward in the recovery of Missouri,” Parson said.
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Resting on four essential pillars, the “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan is intended to protect those most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 while returning Missouri to normal:
• Expand testing capacity and volume in the state
• Expand reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains
• Continue to monitor and, if necessary, expand hospital and health care system capacity, including isolation and alternate care facilities for those that cannot self-quarantine at home
• Improve ability to predict potential outbreaks using Missouri's public health data
This framework will allow the state to work through a gradual reopening, leading to broader economic recovery.
During phase one of the plan, citizens may begin returning to economic and social activities but must adhere to social distancing requirements, including maintaining six feet of space between individuals in most cases. There are currently no limitations on social gatherings as long as necessary precautions are taken and six feet of distance can be maintained between individuals and/or families.
Additionally, all businesses can be open provided that the social distancing guidelines set forth in the new health order are followed. Some businesses will be required to take additional precautions to protect their employees and the public, such as occupancy limits at retail locations.
“All of Missouri’s businesses, employers, and employees are vital to our state’s economy and well-being,” Parson said. “Opening these businesses is going to look very different for awhile, but I’m confident Missourians will abide by the guidelines as we move forward.”
This will be a deliberate and data-driven process that allows for flexibility based on changing situations.
Some communities may be able to reopen at a faster rate than others. Local officials will have the authority to put further rules, regulations, or ordinances in place so long as they are not inconsistent with the statewide order.
Even as Missouri gradually reopens, citizens are encouraged to continue taking precautions to protect themselves and others:
• Stay home if sick
• Wash hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching your face
• Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of elbow
• Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces
• Avoid socializing in groups that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing
• Minimize travel to the extent possible
Additionally, all businesses are encouraged to do the following:
• Implement basic infection prevention measures informed by industry best practices
• Modify physical workspaces to maximize social distancing
• Minimize business travel
• Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan
• Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider
• Encourage telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations
• Return to work in phases and/or split shifts
• Limit access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact
• Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance
“As we begin to reopen, we will be prepared, but the virus is still here. Protect yourself and the people you love. Take care of each other,” Parson said. “Together, we will defeat COVID-19. Together, the state of Missouri will come back stronger than ever before.”
For more information on the “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan, please visit ShowMeStrong.Mo.Gov.