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Local, county and state leaders are working furiously to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. For that, we commend them. More needs to be done. Quickly.

First, as of Wednesday afternoon Gov. Mike Parson had allowed schools to choose whether to stay open. Most of the 500-plus school districts have made the choice to close on their own. But they all should have closed by now. Hopefully by the time you read this, they will have.

For more news about the COVID-19 coronavirus, access the News Tribune Health section.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 538 of 555 school districts/charters in the state were closed, Parson said. Public schools in Eugene and Russellville finally announced Tuesday they would be closing, and Eldon R-1 did so as well on Wednesday afternoon.

We urge all Missouri schools to close if they haven't already.

On Tuesday, the governor rightfully ordered all casinos in the state to close.

As we reported Tuesday, Mike Leara, the Missouri Gaming Commission chairman, estimated the closures of the state's 13 casinos could mean up to $1 million a day in lost revenue for the state. That's unfortunate, but it's one of many financial sacrifices our state and its residents will have to make to contain this virus.

Leara said once local governments began taking actions in recent days to limit public gatherings to no more than 50, it became apparent the casinos couldn't remain open. That's when they should have closed.

Missouri should follow the lead taken by other states and close bars as well as dine-in service for restaurants. People need to eat, so carry-out and drive-thru must be allowed to continue. But to comply with President Trump's most recent directive to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, dine-in service should stop.

Containing the spread of this virus isn't going to be easy. Now is the time for decisive action.

Lives are at stake, and the more we can endure short-term inconvenience — and even pain — the sooner we'll return our community, state and country to normal.

News Tribune

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