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Mid-Missouri leaders respond to the idea of reopening the state


Local leaders who spoke with ABC 17 News on Thursday said they would like to lift restrictions on business and movement put in place to slow COVID-19 as soon as possible, but such easing must be done in a safe way.

State leaders and President Donald Trump on Thursday talked about plans for lifting such restrictions and "reopening" Missouri and the country.

Missouri has been under a statewide stay-at-home order since April 6 -- an order implemented after many states had already put such restrictions in place. Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he is extending the order to May 3. Parson also broadly described his plan for reopening the state.

Places such as Boone County have been under similar orders since late March.

Fulton Mayor Lowe Cannell said while he would love for counties across Missouri to begin to open he's trying to not get his hopes up.

Cannell said he's been watching Parson's addresses daily and has also been in frequent contact with many leaders in Callaway County as they continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in their county.

Callaway County health officials have not reported any new cases in more than a week. The county's COVID-19 case number sat at 19 on Thursday, with 15 of those patients having recovered.

Cannell also said that getting local businesses open in Fulton is paramount, saying the quicker that can happen the better.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said she's been in constant talks with other Cole County and city leaders on how the city can go about opening in some fashion while doing it the right way.

Tergin says she has updated Jefferson City's stay-at-home order, with the most recent change allowing non-essential businesses to operate without customers. Up to four staff members can be in the building to provide services such as curbside pickup and delivery.

Columbia City Councilwoman Betsy Peters said governments should be cautious about opening up too soon.

"Everyone wants the city and county to reopen, however, if we reopen too soon and then have more deaths, we haven't done the best we can do for our citizens, so we need to move with caution while weighing the economic impact as well," she said.

Boone / Callaway / Cole / Columbia / Jefferson City / Local Politics / Missouri Politics / News / Politics / Top Stories

Ben Fein


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