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Missouri's state of emergency is being extended, but Gov. Mike Parson sought to make clear Friday that the planned May 4 reopening of the state will not be delayed, and further guidance for what to expect in daily life is coming next week.
While Parson extended Missouri's state of emergency through June 15, he said it "is not an extension of the stay-at-home order" and the state will reopen May 4.
The extension of the state of emergency — issued March 13 and originally in effect through May 15 — allows the state to continue to use and deploy resources and to keep in place waivers or suspensions of more than 450 state laws and regulations "while we adjust to the reopening," Parson said.
The current statewide stay-at-home order is to last through May 3, with the plan for things to begin to reopen the next day.
If a city or county's public health order expires first, then the state's order — the minimum set of standards — becomes the default set of rules people are to abide by.
Parson said local leaders may add additional features to the coming guidelines for reopening, as they see fit, and that some communities will be able to open faster than others.
Details on those guidelines for reopening are coming next week, Parson said.
He said the guidelines will address businesses and activities including small and large businesses, retail, manufacturing, restaurants, barbershops, hair salons, gyms, "other jobs requiring people to be within 6 feet of each other," religious services, weddings, outdoor events, and youth and summer sports.
Parson said he is working with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education "to hopefully develop a process for (high school) senior graduation."
Even after reopening, there will still be social distancing measures in place, Parson said, though he did not immediately specify limits for sizes of group gatherings.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 6,625 reported cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 262 deaths.
Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, attributed significant increases in the numbers multiple days of test results being bundled together because of a technical delay at a national commercial laboratory, as well as a delay from an entity in reporting multiple days' deaths.
The lab's technical difficulty led to test results for Missourians from April 16-22 not having been submitted, and the delay in death reporting from April 12-22 was from a jurisdiction in the state's tracking system, according to the DHSS website.
"It's certainly not a spike or a surge," Williams said.
As things begin to reopen, Parson said, it will be between an employee and employer to decide when it might be safe for individual employees to return to work.
"That's a discussion we're having right now," and there will probably be further discussion about those issues "because we know that problem is going to exist," Parson said.
With a gap between May 4 and the end of the school year — with school being conducted remotely — Parson said Thursday that federal funds will allow child care providers to expand their hours and provide more care.
"We're going to look at that from a point of view of 'whatever it takes to get people back into the workforce,' and if day care is part of that plan to get us all back to work in Missouri, we're going to look at things like that all day long," the governor said.
This article was updated at 4:55 p.m. April 24, 2020, with additional details.