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Parson calls it ‘encouraging’ to see some return to normalcy

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Monday that he’s encouraged by seeing residents returning to some semblance of normal life after weeks of shelter-in-place orders made necessary by the coronavirus.

The Republican governor spent the weekend back home in southwestern Missouri and said it was good “to do some of the normal duties in life.” He helped his grandson shop for his first car and took his wife to a restaurant.

“It was encouraging to see first-hand this weekend that Missourians were finding a way to adapt and safely move forward,” Parson said during a news conference.

“We remain confident in our recovery plan,” Parson said.

Missouri confirmed 74 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday; Parson noted that was the lowest one-day total since mid-March. All told, 9,918 Missourians have tested positive. Deaths rose by four to 488.

Non-essential businesses reopened in most parts of the state last week. St. Louis and St. Louis County will allow phased-in reopening starting next week.

Kansas City restaurants can reopen to eat-in diners starting Friday. Mayor Quinton Lucas spelled out reopening guidelines that will remain in place through at least May 31, and encouraged anyone going out in public to wear face protection and continue to maintain social distancing.

The Kansas City guidelines state that restaurant patrons with symptoms shouldn’t be allowed to dine, and workers with symptoms shouldn’t be allowed to work. Patrons must be seated while eating or drinking, and tables should generally be spaced 10 feet apart.

Bar seating is prohibited, and buffets and other self-service food preparation are banned.

Employees must wear protective face coverings in all areas open to the public. Disposable menus are encouraged, otherwise menus should be cleaned and sanitized after each customer’s use. The guidelines also call for frequent cleaning and sanitizing of areas that are frequently touched, including door handles and service counters.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said a dispute with a gym business is heading to court. House of Pain reopened gyms in two locations last week, even though the shutdown on fitness centers has not yet been lifted in St. Louis County. A lawyer for the gyms has said the county’s stay-at-home order conflicts with federal and state orders.

Missouri prisoners are producing a variety of products to help government agencies and nonprofit organizations during the pandemic. Three Missouri Vocational Enterprises factories have been modified since March to focus on items of need.

Karen Pojmann, spokeswoman for the corrections department, said that as of May 1, prisoners have manufactured 190,418 reusable fabric face covers, including 1,100 for members of the Missouri General Assembly; 6,383 one-gallon jugs and 17,788 4-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer; 5,827 protective gowns for veterans homes and nursing homes; and 336,000 rolls of toilet paper per week.

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