Announced this week, Missouri’s “Show Me Strong” coronavirus recovery plan will allow businesses in the state to re-open as of Monday May 4, and it allows effectively all business to resume – including live events and sports. Gov. Mike Parson’s plan allows local jurisdictions to keep more strict measures in place, but effectively reopens the state in full so long as social distancing guidelines are maintained.
“All of Missouri’s businesses, employers, and employees are vital to our state’s economy and well-being,” Parson told reporters. “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.”
Live events are specifically addressed in the FAQ section of the state’s recovery plan website. “Can I attend an event at a large venue or stadium, or go to a movie theater?” The section reads. “Yes. However, seating shall be spaced out according to social distancing requirements,” it answers. “This will apply to events such as amusement parks and attractions, concerts, funerals, museums, school graduations and weddings.”
Phase one of this reopening plan is scheduled to run through Sunday, May 31 unless extended by the Governor. The state of emergency declared by Gov. Person currently runs through June 15.
Larger metropolitan areas will likely maintain existing stay-at-home orders beyond the state plan. “The guidelines the governor proposed today are not the ones that are made for either urban or suburban areas,” Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas told a local news station. “I think they are made for rural parts of Missouri.”
Guidelines for event organizers to allow patrons to return are not specified by the order, save for general social distancing guidelines offered for all businesses. Those include limits on occupancy relative to fire code guidelines – stores less than 10,000 square feet must maintain 25 percent or less of its fire code occupancy, with larger stores expected to maintain 10 percent or less of that occupancy. All businesses are expected to operate in a fashion which allows patrons to maintain a minimum of six feet of space. Presumably, any live event which chooses to open will need to do so at a far reduced capacity to start out, with some form of checkerboard seating arrangement in place.
“As we begin to reopen, we will be prepared, but the virus is still here,” Gov. Person said.
Missouri has 7,376 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to tracking on worldometers.info. The state has seen 327 deaths attributed to the pandemic. Modeling by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) indicates that the state saw its peak earlier this week.