KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Amid continued calls to do so, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson issued an order Friday night for Missourians to stay at home.
The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 6, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 24.
The order says Missourians "shall avoid leaving their homes or places of residence unless necessary."
“First and foremost, I want everyone to know that I love this state and the people of this state,” Parson said in a statement. “The people of this great state clearly define who we are in Missouri, and as Governor, I have no greater responsibility than to protect the health, well-being, and safety of all Missourians.”
All essential businesses will continue operate.
Prior to Friday’s announcement, Missouri was one of a handful of states that had not issued a statewide stay-at-home order.
Several jurisdictions, including the entire Kansas City area, issued stay-at-home orders that went into effect March 24.
Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas released a statement applauding the governor's move after Parson finally issued a statewide order.
“With more than 1,800 confirmed cases in several communities throughout our state — rural, urban, and suburban — I’m grateful Governor Parson will implement a statewide Stay at Home Order, effective this Tuesday," Lucas said, in part. "This virus spreads quickly and knows no city, county, or state boundaries and, as such, all areas must take aggressive action to protect Missourians and Americans.”
Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. thanked Parson in a statement supporting the governor's action.
I would like to thank Governor Mike Parson for taking the difficult, yet urgent action our state desperately needs during this public health emergency. All Missourians must heed the call to stay at home and avoid contact with others. It is the only way we can stop the spread of this virus, flatten the curve and save lives. Now is not the time to be defiant or selfish. We must all come together, follow the rules and take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our neighbors. The people of our counties, cities and communities across the state are strong, compassionate and loving. In this time of crisis, our health care workers are depending on us to do what's right. We must give them a fighting chance to beat COVID-19. Do not let our heroes down, Missouri. Stay Strong, Stay Safe, Stay Home.
One of the governor's opponents, Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, said she is pleased with the Parson's decision to issue the stay-at-home order.
"I am thankful for Governor Parson's decision to impose a statewide stay-at-home order," Quade said in a statement. "I'm also thankful for the countless medical professionals and Missourians from across the state who contacted his office in recent weeks urging him to take this action. While the governor kept insisting urban and rural areas must be treated differently for economic reasons, the truth is we are all at risk regardless of where we live. This decision is necessary and if it had been done sooner fewer Missourians would be at risk."
President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Joe Reardon agreed that Parson did the right thing.
"Today's Missouri stay-at-home order and bistate planning will ensure our region is in the best possible position to save lives and emerge from this crisis to get our regional economy back up and running," Reardon said in a statement released Friday evening by the chamber.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a stay-at-home order for her state on March 28.
Among those joining the chorus for Missouri to do the same, the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons announced Friday it had sent a letter to Parson asking him to reconsider his stance on a statewide stay-at-home order.
“As the spread of COVID-19 in the state is increasing exponentially, and many local communities are not taking it upon themselves to issue shelter-in-place orders, MAOPS leadership feels stronger measures must be taken,” the organization wrote in an email announcing the letter to Parson.