Gov. Mike Parson

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson

Photo by Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Trump agrees to Parson’s disaster declaration for Missouri

Neither president nor governor has issued Stay at Home order

By Chris King

Of The St. Louis American

President Donald Trumpapproved Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s request for a federal major disaster declaration for the state of Missouri on Thursday, March 26. Parson – who continues to resist calls to declare a statewide Stay at Home order to halt the spread of COVID-19 – asked Trump on March 24.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program now will be utilized to reimburse eligible expenditures made by local governments, nonprofit organizations, and the state for emergency protective measures by first responders and others responding to the coronavirus.

However, Parson’s request for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling are still under review, as well as his request for federal hazard mitigation assistance to identify and reduce long-term risks associated with natural disasters.

Trump – who continues to resist calls to declare a nationwide Stay at Home order to halt the spread of COVID-19 – has been scattered and inconsistent in his public comments about the pandemic. Most recently, he said he wants the states to remove any Stay at Home orders by Easter.

The entire Missouri congressional delegation – including U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, and U.S. Representatives Sam Graves, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Vicky Hartzler, Ann Wagner, Wm. Lacy Clay, Billy Long, and Jason Smith – sent a letter urging Trump to support Parson’s disaster declaration request for the state.

“In many Missouri communities, efforts to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus are constrained by inadequate access to resources, including personal protective equipment,” the delegation wrote. 

“Businesses have been adversely affected by this virus, leaving workers and business owners without income. Multiple sectors of industry and state and local governments lack the capacity to counteract the negative economic impacts caused by the virus. Access to federal resources may better equip Missouri communities to appropriately respond to this public health emergency. We respectfully request your prompt action to ensure that our communities receive the immediate support needed to respond to this unprecedented disaster.”

On March 13, Parson declared a state of emergency in Missouri and activated the State Emergency Operations Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 21, he directed Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams to order social distancing statewide. Dr. Williams limited social gatherings in Missouri to no more than 10 people; directed Missourians to avoid eating or drinking in restaurants, bars, or food courts; and ordered that schools remain closed.    

Last week, Parson’s request for low-interest federal disaster loans for Missouri small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 was approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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