COVID-19 Information for the Week of March 23, 2020
|Update on Coronavirus in Missouri
On March 21, the governor directed the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to require social distancing statewide. In accordance with guidelines from the president and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every person in Missouri must avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people; avoid eating or drinking at restaurants, bars or food courts (although the use of drive-thru, pickup or delivery options is still allowed); and refrain from visiting nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes or assisted living homes, unless providing critical assistance.
On March 25, the governor requested the president approve a major disaster declaration for the state of Missouri in order to provide additional federal assistance for state and local COVID-19 response efforts. As part of the request, the governor requested the use of two statewide programs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help individuals and families struggling during this difficult time. The governor also requested the use of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program to help local governments and qualifying nonprofit agencies with emergency response expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This request was approved by the president on March 26.
On March 27, the governor signed an executive order mobilizing the Missouri National Guard to assist with the state’s COVID-19 response.
As of March 26, DHSS reports more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri. According to the St. Louis City Department of Health, on the same day, there were 69 cases in the City of St. Louis. In addition, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, as of March 26, has reported two deaths and 143 positive cases of COVID-19.
St. Louis City Updates
On March 21, the St. Louis mayor and the City’s Department of Health announced that the City of St. Louis was issuing a “Stay-at-Home” order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order went into effect Monday, March 23, at 6:00 p.m. Businesses considered essential services are permitted to remain open, but non-essential businesses must close during the “Stay-at-Home” period. Schools in St. Louis have extended their closures to comply with the order, which is scheduled at this time to expire on April 22, 2020. Additionally, it was announced on March 27 that all playgrounds in the City of St. Louis are closed and will remain closed while the City’s “Stay at Home” order is in effect.
Some City of St. Louis offices have reduced their scheduled hours to limit contact and reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you must visit a City office or department, it is best to contact the office first to clarify hours and availability. The Department of Health is maintaining its regular operating hours of Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during this time.
More information about how the coronavirus is affecting the City of St. Louis can be found at www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/health/communicable-disease/covid-19/.
Following DHSS’ statewide social distancing order, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued the following updates:
Tax Filing Deadline Extended
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest. Similarly, the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) has extended this year’s deadline to file and pay individual and corporate income taxes to July 15.
DOR has granted an automatic 60-day renewal extension to valid Missouri driver’s licenses, nondriver’s licenses and noncommercial instruction permits with original expiration dates of March 1, 2020, through April 30, 2020. Vehicle owners with registrations (license plates) expiring in the months of March and April have been granted an automatic two-month extension and will be able to continue operating their vehicles on Missouri roadways without penalty until they can apply for renewal.
Department of Corrections Information
On March 21, it was announced that Securus, the company providing offender phone service in Missouri’s correctional facilities, would be providing two free, 10-minute phone calls per week to each offender beginning on March 23. The receiving party will not be charged for the phone calls, and the phone credits will be replenished each week moving forward until further notice.
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 health.mo.gov. 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 cdc.gov.