Gov. Tate Reeves to ease some restrictions in Mississippi starting 8 a.m. Monday
Published 3:23 pm Friday, April 24, 2020
Mississippi’s governor said the state’s stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus will expire Monday, but he urged residents to remain vigilant and continue safe practices to stop the spread.
Gov. Tate Reeves said Friday that the stay-at-home order was meant to be temporary, and that officials don’t believe the government can force Mississippians to stay in their homes “for months and months on end.”
Reeves said that the state-wide “safer at home” order will go into effect at 8 a.m. on Monday and last for two weeks.
- Mississippians are asked to stay at home “as much as you possibly can.”
- People who are the most vulnerable are ordered to shelter in place, including the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
- Nonessential gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.
- Health care professionals will be allowed to conduct some elective procedures as long as they follow the guidelines of the health department.
- Healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities may also resume performing non-emergent, elective dental procedures and surgeries, as clinically appropriate and in accordance with the guidelines established by the Mississippi State Department of Health including conserving disposable personal protective equipment.
- Retail businesses shall adopt reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to, limiting the number of customers in their stores at one time to no greater than 50% of store capacity in order to ensure compliance with social distancing protocols, and frequent cleaning of high-contact surfaces (such as retail counters, door handles, credit card machines). Retail businesses are encouraged to make hand sanitizer available to their customers upon entry of their stores.
- Operation of beaches, state park lakes, state lakes and reservoirs, all places of amusement and recreation, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to amusement parks and rides, museums, playgrounds, children’s party and play facilities, all parks including all beaches, lakes and reservoirs (but not including walking trails), movie theaters, bowling alleys, and social clubs shall remain closed to the public.
- Businesses that cannot avoid social contact like salons, gyms, spas and tattoo parlors will remain closed.
- Restaurants will still be limited to drive-through, carry out and delivery service only.
- Businesses that can practice social distancing and other guidelines set by the health department will be allowed to open.
- Long-term care facilities shall not allow visitors unless to provide critical assistance, to visit residents receiving imminent end-of-life care, or as otherwise directed by the healthcare facility.
- Reeves said he still discourages churches from holding in-house services and asks people to watch services from home.
Reeves said earlier models projected that Mississippi would be seeing about 90 deaths per day by this time, but eight people died yesterday and trends are pointing in a positive direction.
“We are containing the virus in our state,” Reeves said at Friday’s briefing. “We haven’t seen the rapid spike predicted by many. We haven’t seen the rapid spike seen in many other states.”
Reeves’s statewide stay-at-home order has been in place since April 3 and will be allowed to expire Monday morning.
“We are starting to reopen our economy,” Reeves said. “We cannot slam the door open, that would be reckless and put lives at risk. We can take measured steps to make life better for Mississippians.”
Mississippi processed nearly 165,000 claims for unemployment benefits between March 14 and the week that ended Saturday, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Employment and Training Administration. Nearly 36,000 of those claims were made during the most recent week of the reporting period. The U.S. overall is seeing its highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.