The gradual reopening of Missouri’s economy continued Monday, as restaurants and most nonessential businesses began operating in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis, but residents were urged to keep following safety guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the reopening of businesses should not be considered a victory because too many people have died and too many families are suffering because of the pandemic. Health officials say 335 people have died from COVID-19 in St. Louis County.
“So we cannot let this gradual and thoughtful reopening be looked at as a return to normal. It’s really far from it,” Page said.
Most Missouri businesses were allowed to reopen May 4, when Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s stay-at-home order expired. But Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, both Democrats, extended their orders through Sunday because a majority of the state’s confirmed cases and deaths had occurred in that region.
Page said the next step in the reopening will depend largely on whether people follow restrictions, such as social distancing. He said the county will monitor hospital admissions and tests results, and will consult with hospital systems in determining future decisions on reopening.
Campgrounds and other high-traffic areas in the state’s park system also reopened Monday, although only for those with reservations. The parks system will begin taking reservations Monday for dates beginning March 26. Campers will encounter a new cashless, self-check-in system and some areas will limit occupancy.
Beaches at state parks are scheduled to open Thursday.