Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday extended the state emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic until June 15 and said he would release a two-phase plan next week on guidelines for most of the state’s businesses to reopen.
Parson clarified Friday that the plan would include reopening strategies for restaurants, church services, retail manufacturers and small businesses and would also address graduations, weddings and events. He said barbershops, gyms, massage therapy businesses and salons would be among the businesses allowed to reopen May 4 in the state.
The extension of the emergency declaration, set to expire May 15, does not prolong the stay-at-home order, which is effective through May 3. He said the emergency extension allows the state continued flexibility in using certain funds and other resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have drastically improved the predictions for Missouri,” Parson said in a Friday news conference. “And we are moving forward with our plan to reopen the state on Monday, May the 4th.”
Local leaders, however, can still decide to keep stricter measures in place.
The governor said safety guidelines will be announced. He has not yet specified what those will be, but businesses will be in large part responsible for keeping their workers and customers safe.
“I don’t think you need government to regulate everything about how you run your business,” Parson said. “I think — number one— the businesses 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 was asked Friday if employees who do not feel safe returning to work because of the spread of the virus will still be able to receive state unemployment payments.
“That’s going to be between the employee or the employer to decide whether or not that’s safe,” Parson said, adding that it would be an ongoing discussion in the state to how to handle those cases.