Yesterday, Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 20-02 declaring a state of emergency in Missouri in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Parson announced the emergency declaration in a press conference Friday.

The Governor quotes,

“As Governor, I have no greater responsibility than to keep all Missourians healthy and safe,” Governor Parson said. “After further consideration, we have decided that declaring a state of emergency is the next appropriate step to protect public health.”

The Executive Order was not made because the current healthcare system is overwhelmed or unprepared, and it is not intended to close public schools. Schools administrators should seek the guidance of local health officials when thinking about closing their schools. Rather, the purpose of Executive Order 20-02 is to allow more flexibility in utilizing resources and deploying them around the state where they are most appropriate. By signing this Executive Order, Governor Parson invoked the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan.

Executive Order 20-02 will enable Governor Parson to waive certain state laws and regulations where necessary and direct state agencies to report any unfair market practices. Declaring the state of emergency will also provide access up to a combined total of approximately $7 million in state funds beyond the federal funds Missouri expects to receive.