Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is extending his social distancing mandate through May 3, two weeks beyond its original expiration date.

In a news conference Thursday, Parson said the extra time would allow the state to "prepare to reopen the economy and get Missourians back to work."

The extra time also means the order will stay in place through the week of April 26, when a prominent model from the University of Washington suggests deaths from the virus could reach their peakat around 50 per day.

Parson's order requires people to stay home unless they're getting necessities like food and medical care and stay 6 feet away from non-family members when they're out of the house.

Notably, it does not require so-called "non-essential" businesses like gyms and clothing stores to close unless local authorities say otherwise.

Parson’s announcement came a day after Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, extended her stay-at-home through May 3 and said the Missouri governor would do the same thing. 

Earlier Thursday, officials in St. Louis, Kansas City, and St. Louis County also announced their would extend their stay-at-home orders even further.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’s order will be in effect until May 15, and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page didn’t give an end date, saying he would “revisit” it in mid-May.

Stay-at-home orders in Springfield and Greene County are still set to expire April 24, but officials said they will likely revise those next week.

Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader's politics reporter. Got something he should know? Have a question? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at ahuguelet@news-leader.com. You can also support local journalism atNews-Leader.com/subscribe.