Most Missouri businesses will be able to reopen shortly after the state’s stay-at-home order expires May 3, Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday.
“We’re encouraged by the recent data which is why we feel that we’re in a place to move forward with the recovery plans and begin reopening our economy,” Parson said at his afternoon press briefing.
The green light does not cover the state’s two largest metropolitan areas, which have longer stay-at-home orders in place. Kansas City’s directive runs until May 15. St. Louis City and County have extended theirs indefinitely.
His announcement came the day after after hundreds of protesters rallied at the Capitol calling for an end to stay-at-home restrictions.
Last week Parson extended his order, set to expire April 24, to May 3. He said the decision was based on cautious optimism that spread of the infection is slowing.
Parson also announced an expansion of criteria for who can be tested in state laboratories. State laboratories will be able to test both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, as well as more first responders.
“This expansion recognizes our increased availability of tests and reflects our strategies moving forward as we move out of the acute phase to box in new outbreaks as they arrive and to give doctors and other providers a broader decision making ability as to who gets tested,” Randall Williams, the state health director, said
Parson’s plan to re-open the economy also relies partially on expanding the state’s reserves of Personal Protective Equipment. Next week, hospitals, healthcare providers and first responders will be able to utilize a machine that can decontaminate N95 masks.
The system, manufactured by Battelle, a science and technology development company based in Ohio, has been deployed in other states, including California and Connecticut. It is federally funded and will come at no cost to Missouri.
“Through this system, we will have the maximum capacity to decontaminate up to 80,000 N95 masks per day if needed,” Parson said. “By helping conserve PPE, this will be a huge benefit to our overall recovery plan.”