ST. LOUIS — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tweeted Tuesday that all casinos would close at midnight Wednesday until at least March 30 to help stop the spread of coronavirus -- a move St. Louis area leaders and health system executives support.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann along with Jeffrey Johnston, senior vice-president and regional president of Mercy, Laura Kaiser, president and CEO of SSM Health and Richard Liekwig, president and CEO of BJC Healthcare signed the letter dated Tuesday asking Parson to close casinos. 

It arrived on the governor's desk not long after Parson announced the casino closures.

In it, they wrote: "As a matter of the highest medical urgency, we write to urge you to close all gaming boats in Missouri immediately to limit potential transmission of COVID-19 and to protect the public health. This emergency closure should be effective immediately and last indefinitely until public health officials confirm that reopening is safe."

The letter continues on to say gaming boats are "among the highest-risk locations for potential community transmission."

"This is compounded by the fact that casino patrons tend to be members of populations that are already at a higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19. To be clear: Given the high concentration of senior citizens patronizing casinos, any delay in closing them risks imminent deaths."

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