September 18, 2020

County enacts curfew to curb pandemic parties with college students

Officials in a central Mississippi county have enacted a temporary curfew aimed at breaking up block parties that have drawn hundreds of people in recent weeks, sparking fears of possible coronavirus outbreaks.

Oktibbeha County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a midnight to 4 a.m. curfew that was set to last through the weekend and could be extended further, The Dispatch reported.

Oktibbeha County is home to Mississippi State University. The county, along with Lafayette County which is home to the University of Mississippi, were called out earlier this week by State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs for having a high number of new COVID-19 coronavirus cases.

The majority of Mississippi counties saw a two-week decline in cases, Dobbs said, but 20 counties, including Oktibbeha and Lafayette showed rising numbers.

Oktibbeha Sheriff Steve Gladney asked the board to consider the measure, adding that even when deputies shut down the gatherings, groups often reconvene elsewhere.

“We always get calls that the street is blocked and there’s loud music,” he said.

The resolution did not outline a penalty for curfew violations.

In April, the supervisors enacted a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., along with surrounding areas, the newspaper said. The restrictions were lifted in mid-May.