Reopen Missouri | St. Louis Public Radio

Reopen Missouri

Barr branch library
File photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Mere months ago, the two largest library systems in the St. Louis region kicked off the year 2020 with a major announcement: that their libraries, moving forward, were officially fine-free.

“We’re not about fines,” St. Louis Public Library’s CEO Waller McGuire said at the time. “We’re not about rules. We’re about helping people learn. Helping people enjoy themselves. Helping people gain access to information, which is vital to their lives.”

Weeks later, the change proved to be an unusually prescient one. As both the city and county library facilities closed their doors indefinitely amid the COVID-19 shutdown, both systems were quick to assure patrons that they needn’t worry about returning overdue items during the crisis.

A cashier at MERS Goodwill retrieves a purse off a clothing rack at the thrift store chain's store in Manchester. Store employees wiped down carts between shoppers and halted sales of large furniture. May 18, 2020
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:35 p.m. with information on additional businesses

Customers lined up Monday morning outside a dozen MERS Goodwill locations in St. Louis and St. Louis County before stores reopened at 10 a.m. As the Florissant store quickly reached its 50-person capacity, other people waited outside on X’s marked on the ground — eager to get inside now that businesses can reopen.

Many wore cloth masks, and the few who didn’t were upset that they could not enter the store without one, said Tori Basile, Goodwill’s district retail manager.

“More than anything they’re just looking for that little return to normalcy and what they enjoyed doing before we closed the stores — coming in to treasure hunt and get some supplies that they may have needed while we were closed,” she said.

Parson announces plan to reopen Missouri businesses by May 4 on Monday, April 27, 2020
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced on Monday that every business throughout the state will be allowed to open on Monday, May 4. 

This is Parson’s first phase in his “gradual” and “strategic” reopening plan that he said will lead to economic recovery. 

“All of Missouri’s businesses, employers and employees are vital to our state’s economy and well-being,” Parson said at a press briefing on Monday. “Opening these businesses is going to look very different for awhile, but I’m confident Missourians will abide by the guidelines as we move forward.” 

Reopen Missouri Rally on Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Several hundred men, women and children gathered in Jefferson City and St. Louis County on Tuesday asking Gov. Mike Parson to lift his statewide stay-at-home order and let Missourians get back to work. 

Some protesters ignored social distancing restrictions and stood close together, with only a few wearing masks. They held signs that read, “Poverty Kills People Too," "Freedom For Missourians” and “We Have Rights.”