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State health director urges social distancing, masks before holiday weekend

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services warned the state could fall backward if safety recomendations are not followed.

Dr. Randall Williams made the remarks at Gov. Mike Parson's COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.

Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below.

Williams also encouraged the public to wear masks where social distancing cannot happen.

“The more we learn, the more important we realize that is,” Williams said of wearing face coverings. He said social distancing and handwashing are also important parts of slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

'Let's not lose ground and practice those basic pillars," Williams said.

This comes as Missouri set several records last week for the number of COVID-19 cases in a day.

Dr. William said the state has seen an increase in cases in younger patients as more people start to get back out into the public. He said these recommendations are extremely important during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

"It's really important... that we not rest on our laurels and think, if we quit doing what got us here things will just stay the same. We don't think that," Williams said. "We think we need to keep doing those things that enable Missouri to be where we are right now."

However, Parson said in response to a reporter's question that he has no plans to sign an order requiring mask use statewide.

Both Parson and Williams pointed to local leaders making decisions for their own communities. Parson also said the decision comes down to personal responsibility and freedom.

"Some of the freedoms that we all have in individual things have to be protected also," Parson said, "The ones that don't wear a mask should have every right not to if they don't feel like they want to wear one."

Parson said the issue of whether or not to wear a mask has gotten political.

"You have to make a decision as individuals to decide whether you are going to do that or not, you know the facts," Parson said.

Parson and Williams said new guidance and recommendations were approved Tuesday, giving Missourians more information about masks.

Missouri / News / Top Stories / Top Stories / Video

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.

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