On May 4th, Missouri is throwing open its doors.  All business will be able to reopen as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.  You can also get on with your social life, with no limits on how many people can get together, as long as you leave a six-foot gap between yourself and others.

Governor Mike Parson's declaration was met partly with cheers, partly with trepidation.  Some are saying it's about time, while others fear it's too soon.  Some urban areas may have more stringent restrictions, and local officials can determine if more precautions are necessary based on conditions.

The governor is calling his order to reopen "Show Me Strong Recovery."  His office has released the following outline:

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. 

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 work spaces 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

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 a new normal:

  1. Expand testing capacity and volume in the state
  2. Expand reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains 
  3. 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
  4. 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. 

For more information on the “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan, visit showmestrong.mo.gov.