Missouri Gov. Mike Parson late Sunday urged people to refrain from gatherings of more than 50 people, with the exception of schools, day cares and businesses. Independence Mayor Eileen Weir followed with the same appeal.


The governor also asked that “facilities that attract large concentrations of senior citizens to strongly consider restrictions and closures.”


Parson did not call for the closing of schools but encouraged them to “follow CDC guidelines and consult with local health care providers and public health authorities as decisions are made on whether to keep school in session.”


The Independence and Fort Osage School district on Sunday called off school this week, in effect a two-week closure because they’re up for spring break March 23-27. The Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Lee’s Summit districts are on spring break this week.


Some of the nation’s largest school districts and some entire states have canceled school, and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Sunday suggested districts in that state close at least for this week.


This is the new guidance that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued  Sunday:


“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.”


“Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.


“Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing.  When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.


“This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.


Officials in the St. Louis bi-state area on Sunday did put those recommendations into effect, banning gatherings of 50 or more for eight weeks. That applies to the city of St. Louis, St. Charles and St. Louis counties and two counties in Illinois.


The statement from those governments also hinted that a statewide closure of bars and restaurants could be in the works. After this listing local steps – including a recommendation to close schools by Wednesday – the statement said, “In Missouri, decisions regarding the mandatory closures of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs remain under consideration and are expected to be made soon.”