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Missouri secures masks for first responders, makes temporary changes in alcohol sales

Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will temporarily waive some restrictions of the sale of alcohol in "containers besides their original packaging"

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The state is expecting a shipment about 200,000 N95 masks Tuesday night, after it was discovered some of Missouri's supply "did not meet quality standards."

Missouri's Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said the state recalled 48,000 KN95 masks that had been delivered to law enforcement agencies across the state on April 2 and 8.

"PPE is one of the most difficult issues we're facing now," Karsten said during the press briefing Tuesday. "Missouri and everyone else is seeking out these masks. There's too little product and too much demand."

"Supplies will be short, but I promise that we will continue to pursue and acquire as much reliable PPE that we can get," she said. 

Karsten said the state will work to deliver the new masks to first responders as quickly as possible and expects FEMA to send more.

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During the press briefing, Karsten also said 35 medical personnel from the state's emergency management agency and the Missouri National Guard are staffing an alternate care site in Florissant and establishing "care procedures if needed."

The Quality Inn hotel was converted to a site where COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms can receive treatment if hospitals become too full.

Karsten said the state is continuing to evaluate other sites.

"We hope another site will not be needed, but we must be ready," she said.

READ MORE: Florissant hotel converted to alternate care site ready to accept COVID-19 patients starting Tuesday

Karsten also announced a change in policy that will allow restaurants to sell premixed alcoholic beverages "to go."

Missouri's Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will temporarily waive some restrictions of the sale of alcohol in "containers besides their original packaging."

The containers must be "durable, leak-proof and seal-able," Karsten said. Customers must also order and purchase a meal to go along with the beverage. 

Also, the beverage must be placed in a "sealed, tamper-proof bag or the container opening must be sealed with tamper-proof tape."

"This change is being done to assist restaurant owners as well as employees during this time of unprecedented restrictions," Karsten said. "We are waiving that temporarily."

Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Parson said he has not decided when he might ease or lift the state's stay-at-home order, which is scheduled to end on April 24.

"We’re working on that every day," he said. "We're going to look at Missouri data. It’s looking at the data, talking to people and wondering how we're going to move forward on that."

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