Concerns about the coronavirus prompted Missouri’s governor on Wednesday to push back local elections for two months and forced the closure of one of the state’s most iconic landmarks.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson ordered all local elections scheduled for April 7 to be postponed until June 2. The executive order allows already printed ballots to be used for the rescheduled elections. Residents who turn 18 by April 7 will be allowed to vote.
The Gateway Arch, along with its museum, sprawling grounds and the historic Old Courthouse, were closed Wednesday until further notice, the National Park Service announced.
The U.S. District Court for Eastern Missouri, based in St. Louis, suspended all jury trials through May and postponed all “non-essential in-person proceedings.” On Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court suspended nearly all in-person proceedings in appellate and circuit courts through at least April 3.
Seventeen cases have now been confirmed in Missouri. One of the new cases involved someone who went to work in St. Louis even while exhibiting symptoms, Mayor Lyda Krewson said on Twitter.
“With this case, there’s reason to believe there is community exposure,” Krewson said. She urged anyone with cold- or flu-like symptoms to stay home and contact a medical professional.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in St. Louis city and Boone, Cass, Cole, Greene, Henry, Jackson and St. Louis counties.
The economic fallout from the virus scare is starting to take a toll on media. The Riverfront Times stopped printing its weekly publication and laid off most of its editorial staff on Wednesday.
Editor Doyle Murphy told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the RFT would continue as a website run by himself and web editor Jaime Lees. He said it wasn’t clear when or if the print edition would resume.
The RFT has been hit especially hard because it focuses on bars and restaurants that are now closed and concerts and events that are canceled or postponed.