JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Jefferson City’s downtown saw little foot traffic Monday, with a combination of a state holiday and enhanced security precautions around the Capitol keeping the area quiet.
Some of those effects could linger this week: House lawmakers are pausing their session because of the number of coronavirus cases in the Capitol and many state workers have been ordered to work from home for the same reason.
Mayor Carrie Tergin, owner of Carrie’s Hallmark Shop, said state and city offices were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which is typically a quiet day around the Capitol.
“The banks are closed and the state offices are closed down the street today so we see a lot less of our foot traffic because of a state holiday,” Tergin said. “Typically around lunchtime is a busier time here in downtown.”
Federal authorities last week warned of the possibility of armed protests this week in all 50 state capitals. That has not materialized in Missouri. However, state officials have beefed up security at the Capitol.
Tergin said Monday she thinks people will be going about their normal routines and being a little more cautious and aware of their surroundings.
Missouri officials have brought in armed park rangers and Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers to join the Capitol Police Department.
MSHP officials are not aware of any direct threats to the state Capitol but they say the extra security around the building is there in case of any threatening behavior.
Sam Bushman, Cole County’s presiding commissioner and owner of Samuel’s Tuxedo and Gifts, said he noticed the slower foot traffic Monday. Downtown business owners prefer having legislators working, he said.
“They’ve only been in a week and they already have the House closed because of COVID,” Bushman said. “We need to bring the National Guard in and vaccinate all of our legislators and staff.”
Bushman said with legislators traveling back and forth from across the state, they could be carrying the virus with them and taking it back home, infecting more people.
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