JEFFERSON CITY – In Thursday’s, April 2, press briefing, Gov. Mike Parson highlighted the state’s ongoing efforts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in Missouri.
Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams and the Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard Brigadier General Levon Cumpton joined Parson for the briefing on Thursday.
“Day in and day out, we are working around the clock to respond and adapt to COVID-19 in every way possible. Not just government, but our doctors, nurses, public health professionals, law enforcement, first responders, truck drivers, grocery store workers, and all of the Missourians who are on the frontlines every day,” Parson said. “A tremendous amount of work has already been accomplished, but it does not stop here. We will continue to exhaust all options until Missouri overcomes and fully recovers from this crisis.”
On Thursday, Parson signed his sixth executive order in response to COVID-19. Executive Order 20-07 suspends late penalties for concealed carry license renewals.
Sheriffs in each county process requests for concealed carry license renewal and are required to assess penalties for individuals who seek to renew a license after the expiration date.
This executive order waives the requirement that sheriffs enforce the penalty on late renewals.
By doing so, this not only promotes public health and social distancing but also frees up local law enforcement officers from administrative tasks.
In addition to six executive orders, 276 state statutes and regulations have been waived or suspended to ease regulatory burdens that interfere with Missouri’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Parson reports the state has approved the purchase of tens of millions of dollars worth of PPE and is working rapidly to get these shipments out across the state.
On March 21, Parson directed Dr. Williams to order statewide social distancing.
On March 24, Parson requested, and since received approval for, a federal major disaster declaration for the state of Missouri.
Parson has also mobilized the Missouri National Guard to further assist with COVID-19 response efforts.
The Guard has been working as part of the state’s effort to identify potential alternate care sites, if needed, around Missouri.
Along with the Guard, the agencies involved in these site surveys are DHSS, the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Missouri Office of Administration, the Missouri Hospital Association, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Over the past week, the Guard has assessed several locations throughout the state including arenas, exposition centers and hotels at 14 sites located in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Joplin, Columbia and Cape Girardeau.
The Guard is continuing assessments of sites based on several criteria, such as areas where demand could exceed capacity (bed space), areas with spaces large enough for patient populations and areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction.
Should the need arise, some of these alternate care sites could be available in seven to 15 days once approved.
Parson also announced that since Missouri signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor on Saturday, the $600 federal supplement will be effective beginning Sunday, March 29, for those filing unemployment payment requests this week.
These monies will be paid retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29 after the federal government issues guidance and releases the funds.
Parson continued to emphasize the importance of staying home.
“We will overcome this, but people must stay home as much as possible in order to do that. This means staying home unless absolutely necessary to get out,” Parson said. “You are not stuck at home. You are safe at home, and the sooner everyone does this, the sooner Missourians will be on the road to recovery.”