New restrictions planned as Missouri state offices reopen

New restrictions planned as Missouri state offices reopen

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Residents and state employees who return to state offices Monday will find some new requirements before they can enter government buildings, according to Sarah Steelman, commissioner of the Missouri Office of Administration.

Private businesses also are allowed to reopen when Gov. Mike Parson’s stay-at-home order expires early Monday.

Steelman said different government agencies would decide which buildings to open. Services that will be open include motor vehicles and driver licenses, Bureau of Vital Records, motor vehicle inspections and driver’s tests, The Jefferson City News-Tribune reported.

State office buildings with 300 or more employees will screen the public, employees and vendors entering the buildings, with the help of the Missouri National Guard. Social distancing in building lobbies also will be enforced.

The screenings, which will not include taking temperatures, are expected to take less than 30 seconds. Members of the public who enter the buildings will be required to sign in and provide their information to be contacted if they came in contact with someone infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The state encourages the public to continue to do as much business as possible remotely or to use appointment-only services to maintain social distancing.

SUNDAY COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

State health officials said Sunday that Missouri had recorded 8,386 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 232 from Saturday’s 8,154. A total of 352 people have died from the disease, up one from Saturday.

The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher than the number of confirmed cases because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

NATIONAL GUARD AIDS IN MASK-CLEANING

More than 50 members of the Missouri National Guard are helping to ensure a supply of decontaminated N95 masks for those who need them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Guardsmen are gathering used N95 masks at 13 collection points around Missouri and delivering them to a central decontamination site, the Guard said in a news release.

N95 masks are used in industrial settings as well as hospitals, and they filter out 95 percent of all airborne particles, including ones too tiny to be blocked by regular masks. Government and health officials have been scrambling to find enough masks since the coronavirus began to spread earlier this year.

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