Sen. Jamilah Nasheed’s Legislative Update for the Week of March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Information for the Week of March 16, 2020

Update on Coronavirus in Missouri

On March 13, the governor signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to the spread of the coronavirus. This will provide the state more flexibility in responding to the coronavirus and allow the state to access additional funding. The governor signed another executive order on March 18, invoking emergency powers and allowing executive agencies to waive or suspend certain regulations and statutes that interfere with Missouri’s response to the spread of COVID-19. For example, this will enable doctors to diagnose and treat patients more easily through telemedicine to avoid physical contact, it extends the hours commercial drivers can operate on Missouri roadways in order to deliver essential supplies and it removes barriers to entering the education profession in order to mitigate teacher shortages.

On March 15, following guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the governor urged the cancellation or suspension of public gatherings of 50 individuals or more with the exception of educational institutions, daycare facilities and business operations. Since that time, the White House has revised that limit, urging gatherings of no more than 10 people. Officials in St. Louis City and St. Louis County have put similar measures in place to limit the size of gatherings.

On March 17, St. Louis City Hall and the city facility at 1520 Market began temperature testing those entering the buildings. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 must return home and not enter either building. This protocol is intended to limit exposure to the virus.

The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) has also announced additional screening measures for those entering DOC facilities. Beginning March 19, 2020, any staff member, vendor or other individual will be required to go through a verbal screening process in order to enter any DOC facility. In the event an individual attempting to enter a correctional facility is identified as high risk due to symptoms or because they may have been at risk of exposure to COVID-19, that person will not be allowed entry. This comes after it was announced that offender visiting was suspended at all state prisons for 30 days, beginning March 12.

There have now been more than two dozen confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Missouri. On March 18, the state’s first confirmed death in Missouri contributed to COVID-19 was in Boone County. That same day, it was announced that a second positive case of COVID-19 was detected in the City of St. Louis.

What You Can Do Stop the Spread

According to the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Missourians across the state are encouraged to take the following steps to prevent the spread of illnesses like the coronavirus:

  •       Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer;
  •       Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
  •       Avoid contact with people who are sick;
  •       Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others; and
  •       Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

As part of their 15 Days to Slow the Spread campaign, the White House is urging people to take the following additional steps:

  •       Work from home or school, whenever possible;
  •       Older individuals should stay home and away from others;
  •       Avoid discretionary trips, such as social or shopping trips;
  •       Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities, unless providing critical assistance; and
  •       Avoid eating out at bars and restaurants. Use drive-thru, pick-up or delivery options instead.

Other Services

Ameren Missouri

Ameren Missouri has announced that it will suspend all disconnections for non-payment and forgive any late payment fees for residential and business customers. Customers who are having difficulty paying their bill are encouraged to contact Ameren’s customer care team for a variety of payment options.


Recently, in order to help Missourians stay connected to information about the coronavirus, AT&T announced that for the next several weeks, they will:

  •       Not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  •       Waive any late payment fees that any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer may incur because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.
  •       Keep public Wi-Fi hotspots open for any American who needs them.

AT&T also announced they will suspend data caps on home internet usage.

Missouri Bankers Association

The Missouri Bankers Association (MBA), a statewide trade and professional organization representing 260 banks and savings and loans institutions in Missouri, has put the following information regarding their financial institutions:

  •       MBA encourages anyone who is experiencing financial hardship to contact their financial institution as soon as possible to discuss their individual situations.
  •       All customer deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 per depositor, meaning money in federally-insured banks is safe. This includes checking, savings, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit.
  •       The majority of banking services and products can be delivered through banks’ enhanced mobile and digital channels. As a precaution, many banks are providing drive-thru services only. Check with your local bank to see if they have changed their lobby hours to minimize person-to-person contact.
  •       Individuals should be cautious of emails, texts and calls that mimic communication from their banks. Banks will not call to ask to verify your account information or credentials to access those funds. If you receive an email, text, call or other communication seeking personal or banking information, please contact your bank immediately.

Missouri Courts

The Missouri Supreme Court has suspended all in-person proceedings in all appellate and circuit courts, including all associate, family, juvenile, municipal and probate divisions through April 3, 2020, subject to the following exceptions:

  • Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and juveniles;
  • Proceedings in which civil or criminal jury trials are already in progress as of March 16, 2020;
  • Proceedings pertaining to orders of protection;
  • Proceedings related to emergency child custody orders;
  • Proceedings related to petitions for temporary restraining orders or other forms of temporary injunctive relief;
  • Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders;
  • Proceedings for emergency guardianship or conservatorship;
  • Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • Oral arguments regarding time-sensitive matters; and
  • Other exceptions approved by the chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court.

Missouri Department of Economic Development

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) is currently working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to bring assistance to Missouri businesses through emergency loans. More information will be available in the coming weeks and can be found on the DED’s website.

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The ongoing situation with the coronavirus has led all school districts and charter schools around the state to close their doors. As students, parents and teachers wonder how this disruption may affect the current academic year, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing information regarding student attendance, school closure, assessments and virtual education opportunities. This information can be accessed at

Municipal Elections Moved

The governor has signed an executive order postponing municipal elections from April 7, 2020, to June 2, 2020.

Stay Informed

With the ever-changing situation regarding the coronavirus, it’s important to stay informed. For up-to-date information about the spread of the coronavirus in Missouri, please visit DHSS’ website at The department also has a 24-hour hotline to address your questions and concerns at 877-435-8411. For additional information about the coronavirus, please visit the CDC’s website at