Missouri Government Actions on Covid-19 Updated 5/7/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- reopening plans for St. Louis City and Jackson and St. Louis Counties
- new case and death projections
- Governor’s funding allocations
- federal judge’s ruling on a lawsuit against pork processing plant
- Jackson County Executive Frank White outlined details of the county’s four-phase plan to reopen the economy in the Kansas City area beginning next week. Each phase will last about two weeks. Phase one will begin May 11, when the stay-at-home order ends, allowing nonessential businesses to reopen provided they follow social-distancing guidelines and capacity limitations. Organizations are required to prepare a social distancing protocol no later than midnight May 10. Phase four of the plan allows for normalcy without social distancing or capacity limits when a vaccine or advanced therapeutic regimen is released.
- St. Louis City and St. Louis County announced on Wednesday that both will begin easing stay-at-home orders later this month. Officials stated that the process will be slow. Starting May 18, the St. Louis area will move forward in a responsible manner, driven by metrics like hospitalizations, ventilator usage, and confirmed cases. The city and county are coordinating their plans, and details can be expected to be released soon.
- As Missouri continues to relax social distancing guidelines and allow for more mobility, new projections show a steady rise in COVID-19-related deaths, with an estimated 1,243 deaths by August 4, 2020. Statewide there were 186 new cases on Wednesday, with 19 additional deaths.
- Governor Parson announced on Wednesday that Missouri will receive $66 million in federal relief, which will provide funding for child care and assistance for families needing child care, including low-income residents searching for work. Additionally, Governor Parson announced that $1.5 million of federal funding will go to the six Missouri food banks across the state that serve more than 1,000 food pantries, domestic violence shelters, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other meal sites. Finally, Governor Parson announced that $1.8 million of the funding will go towards emergency assistance for Victims of Crime Act grants.
- A federal judge in the Western District of Missouri dismissed a lawsuit regarding employees at a rural meatpacking facility. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of workers at Smithfield’s pork processing plant, seeking an injunction requiring the plant to abide by federal guidelines and accusing Smithfield of not doing enough to protect workers from COVID-19. In his 24-page ruling, the judge found in favor of Smithfield Foods, stating that while the court takes the employee’s concerns seriously, the court cannot ignore the USDA and OSHA’s authority over workplace health and safety compliance. While most would view this ruling as a loss for the employees, the attorney representing them stated the lawsuit itself prompted several changes at the plant, including better spacing of employees, additional cleaning and sanitizing, and an improved sick leave policy.