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Major Kansas City-area civic groups urge more action from Gov. Parson

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Posted at 8:30 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 21:33:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson has repeatedly said Missourians need to take “personal responsibility” for social distancing and vowed that he won’t close businesses.

Now, three Kansas City area civic groups with deep business roots have sent a letter to Parson, urging him to take more action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City President Marc Hill, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Joe Reardon and Kansas City Area Development Council President and CEO Tim Cowden sent the letter Friday night “asking the Governor to take additional steps amid concerns over COVID-19,” according to a release.

“We stand ready to support you as you take measures to keep Missourians safe and healthy,” the letter said. “As civic organizations representing employers and businesses across the Kansas City region, we strongly support you taking executive action to accomplish social distancing in Missouri to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Among the suggested actions are a prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more people in the state, a mandate Parson said he planned to announce this weekend during an afternoon press conference.

The civic leaders also urged Parson to close all schools until Missouri “public health officials advise that it is safe to re-open” and order all restaurants and bars in the state to transition to takeout or delivery options only until the COVID-19 crisis passes.

Finally, the letter asked that Parson “strongly urge that all Missourians avoid non-essential activities and observe social distancing until public health officials indicate it is safe to resume normal activities.”

“The success of our efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and shorten the unprecedented disruption of our economy depends on the public receiving clear and consistent guidance from our leadership about the role each individual must play,” the letter said.

Hill, Reardon and Cowden also encouraged Parson to work with President Trump and U.S. congressional leaders “to ensure that Missouri receives its fair share of every federal dollar being allocated to help our healthcare providers, local businesses and citizens.”

“We stand ready to help you advocate for the federal funds that will be necessary to support Missouri healthcare providers, local businesses and citizens,” the letter concluded. "We appreciate the measures you have taken to this point, and respectfully ask you to take these additional steps today to protect the public health of all Missourians.”

Kansas City is among the cities and other local government jurisdictions, including Jackson County and Independence among others, that have enacted strong prohibitions against public gatherings and measures to encourage social distancing in recent weeks.

Here is a copy of the letter: