The metro area stay-at-home order has been extended for three weeks to May 15.

The current order put in place a month ago had been scheduled to end after April 24 – next Friday. With the latest data projections from health officials showing that COVID-19 cases in Missouri and the metro area will peak some time in late April, Independence Mayor Eileen Weir and other area leaders decided to extend the order, hoping it will allow the metro area to observe declining case rates if such a peak occurs.

Public health officials on both sides of the border in the metro area had recommended Wednesday that the order be extended three weeks.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced his city’s extension early Thursday, while Jackson County Executive Frank White announced the extension late Thursday afternoon.

Under stay-at-home orders, citizens are asked to remain home unless traveling for work deemed essential or for essential tasks such as getting groceries and pharmacy items.

Weir thanked citizens and workers for their actions the past few weeks to slow the virus’ spread.

"It is because of your efforts that we are keeping the curve in our area below critical levels, meaning at this time we do not see a lack of hospital beds in our area," Weir said in a release. "However we must remain diligent."

Missouri’s current stay-at-home order, which allows local municipalities to determine "essential" businesses, also was scheduled to expire April 24 until Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday afternoon extended it to May 3. Until last week, Parson ordered schools to be closed the rest of the academic year, area schools had decided on their own to remain closed until April 24.

"We can’t thank our community enough for their strength and sacrifice during this time," White said in a release. "Now is not the time to let up. By extending the order past our anticipated peak date, we can further reduce transmission of the virus and begin re-opening our community in a smart and safe manner."

In Independence, City Hall, the Utilities Center and all Parks, Recreation and Tourism facilities will remain closed through at least May 15.

To further current guidelines, all restaurants, bars and taverns are closed until at least May 15, excluding restaurants providing curbside, drive-thru, to-go or delivery services. All body care services (salons, barbers, tattoo/piercing services, massages) are prohibited to open until at least May 15.

All utilities will not be shut off until further notice, and utility customers are encouraged to pay their bills online or via phone if possible, as all credit card and online convenience fees and all late fees have been waived until further notice. Those unable to pay online can pay through the drive-thru at the Utilities Center at 23rd Street and R.D. Mike Road, or in the overnight drop-off at City Hall, 111 E. Maple Ave. Retail sales at these locations are no longer permitted. Health care services such as physical therapy are not impacted.

Jackson County’s order extension expanded essential business to include businesses that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies and realtors), funeral homes and cemeteries (no more than 10 in attendance for funerals), moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that help essential activities.

Essential businesses that continue to operate must scale down operations to their essential component only and develop a social distancing protocol by Monday.