To prevent the spread of COVID-19, city leaders and organizers across the state are canceling events. To stay up to date on event cancellations and other novel coronavirus news, download the Courier-Tribune NOW app and bookmark the CT website in your browser.

Gov. Mike Parson outlined a new statewide social distancing order on Saturday, March 21, that matches many orders already in place across counties. The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 23, and lasts until 12:01 a.m. April 6.

The order requires:

• Every person in the state to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.

• Every person avoid eating or drinking at restaurants, bars or food courts unless drive-thru, pick-up or delivery is allowed.

• People not visit nursing homes, long-term care, retirement homes or assistant living homes unless to provide critical conditions.

• All schools to remain closed. This order does not prohibit schools from providing child care and Food and Nutritional Services for those children that qualify. Teachers and staff may enter the building as long as they follow the directives set forth in this order.

“As the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop, this is a critical step in protecting the health and safety of Missourians,” Parson said. “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for all citizens to practice social distancing and abide by this order, which is backed by intense deliberation and knowledge.”

The state is also raising limitations on the total number of children per child care provider at day care facilities. If needed, 14-day licensing will also be available.

“This order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places including grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks, so long as necessary precautions are taken and maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between all individuals that are not family members,” states a governor's office release.

For offices and workplaces that remain open, individuals must practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVID-19.

Sandy Karsten, director of Missouri's Department of Public Safety, said the state is using it's stockpile of personal protective gear for hospitals. She said the department is prepared to provide the gear to hospitals and first responders as needed.

"It's just a moving target, every day," she said.

The Missouri Department of Revenue also extended the tax deadline to July 15. License plates and driver's license expiration dates are also extended by two months. Drivers with an expired plate or license will not face any penalty.

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