JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday directed all state workers to return to their offices for in-person work no later than May 17.
The state directive also requires all state buildings to be open and accessible to the public during normal business hours.
“Since the start of COVID-19, our state team members have gone above and beyond to keep state government running and continue providing quality public service to Missourians,” Parson said in a news release announcing the decision.
Thousands of state workers have done their jobs from home since last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. It wasn't immediately clear how many workers are still working outside the office.
Parson said he is confident of where Missouri is in the vaccination efforts and a safe time to bring state workers back to the office
"It is a safe environment now for people to come back or we wouldn't be asking them to be back in that kind of environment," Parson said.
Parson said for those that are concerned to return to work, its was always been the plan to eventually return to work.
COVID-19 screening and protocols will remain in place, and the state is encouraging all employees to get vaccinated. All Missouri adults are now eligible for vaccination and the number of vaccines given out daily continues to fall. More than 2.3 million Missourians have gotten at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, equal to about 38% of the state's population.
Representative and Minority Floor Leader Richard Brown, said it is time for state workers to return to the office.
"In my opinion we are moving in the right direction. Everyone is COVID weary right now and it is time for us to try to get back to as much of a state of normalcy as we possibly can," Brown said.
Brown is hopeful with all the protocols in place the office will continue to be a safe for state workers.
More than 504,000 Missourians have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and more than 8,800 have died since the pandemic began last March.
Parson has said his office will not require anyone to be vaccinated to return to work.
Parson said at least 70 to 80 percent of state workers have been working from the office for months.
The University of Missouri in March announced it would require workers to return to the office by May 17, as well.
Parson said that he hopes that coming back to the office will encourage state employees to get vaccinated.