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EXCLUSIVE: KOLR10 speaks one-on-one with Governor Mike Parson

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo- KOLR10 Anchor David Oliver got the chance Tuesday afternoon to talk with Governor Mike Parson about COVID-19.

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Reopening the state and economy
  • Pressure from small business owners about reopening and what is essential
  • What Missouri is getting from the federal government
  • How hospitals are preparing for a surge if needed
  • What does fall in Missouri look like
  • How will tourism in the state get back to normal

Reopening the state

Oliver first asks Gov. Parson about what he thinks re-opening in Missouri looks like compared to nationwide.

“Here’s what I do know, the President of the United States wants to get the economy open as soon as he can. Each one of us governors got to take care of our states,” said Parson.

He says his office has been working on a plan of what it would look like to re-open Missouri.

Pressure from small businesses to reopen

Governor Parson says it’s hard to come up with a blanket policy for Missouri. Parson explains that by saying each county is different.

“If you like at the 90 third class counties, which most of them make up Southwest Missouri, there’s only been six deaths in those 90 counties out of the 114 counties in the entire state,” says Parson.

He says there are over 4,000 cases in Missouri and only a little over 300 in those 90 counties.

“We kind of know where some of the hot spots are in the state of Missouri, we know where some of the regions are that has more problems than other areas,” Parson says. He says those hot spots are the focus of the state.

What will go into the decision to reopen?

“I think all small businesses are essential in the state of Missouri,” says Parson.

He says in the beginnings of the stay-at-home order, it was hard to tell those businesses to close.

He says moving forward testing is going to be an issue around the state. Governor Parson thinks people will feel more comfortable going out, if there is more widespread testing available.

“We’re going to have to proceed with caution; I think you’ll have to do it in phases to open this up. For the small business guys, I just want to say this, one of the most difficult things I was looking at the decision of who is essential and who’s not,” says Parson.

Parson says he feels small businesses, especially those family businesses that have been open for decades, should be considered essential.

Is Missouri getting the proper supplies from the federal government?

Parson says he does not feel Missouri is getting what the state needs from the federal government. He was thankful for businesses in Missouri that are making Personal Protective Equipment for the state, but there is still more federal product the state needs for testing.

How hospitals are preparing for a surge, if it happens

So far in Missouri, there has been one site in Florissant near St. Louis that has been prepared as an alternative care site for any surges in cases. Governor Parson says that, if needed, one can be put in place for the Ozarks.

“Steve Edwards what he’s doing down there has been remarkable, what they have done on their own, and at the end of the day what I’ve said all along we cannot wait for the federal government, or you can’t wait for the state government to fix problems, you got to take the initiative to resolve them yourself,” says Parson.

Parson is referring to the floor CoxHealth has dedicated to COVID-19 care if needed.

What does fall in Missouri look like?

Parson says Missouri will have to be smart about how the state is re-opened.

“Until they come out with a vaccine for this, there;’s a good chance it is going to come back next fall, so we just got to be smarter about it,” says Parson.

He says Missourians are going to have to get used to changes until we can get back to normal and that the process will likely happen in stages.

How will tourism in the state get back to normal?

Parson says his administration will have to evaluate state aid for those in the tourism industry.

He says promoting in-state tourism will help, so people don’t have to worry about staying in hotels or long-distance traveling.

“If we can get Missourians to help Missourians to get us through this summer is really important,” says Parson.

He mentioned that this would be the second time tourism has been hit in Missouri in the past two years, last year flooding in Northern Missouri caused tourism to take a toll.

“Missourians have went through hard times before, and we’ll get through this, we truly will. I’m confident Missouri is going to come out of this for the better,” says Parson.

Want to see more of the interview with Governor Mike Parson? Click here to see our web extra.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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