Local Government

Published on April 1st, 2020 | by TLV News


Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves Orders a Statewide “Shelter-in-Place” Order Effective at 5 pm Friday, April 3, 2020

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has issued a statewide “shelter-in-place” order beginning Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5 pm, to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. The decision came as the state surpassed 1,000 cases and posted its largest one-day increase since the crisis began. 

“We believe this is the right tool, at the right time, to save lives,” Governor Reeves said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. He said the goal of the order is “to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed.” 

The order will last from Friday, April 3 at 5 pm to April 20 at 8 am. Like other states that have issued such lock downs, it says residents must stay home except for essential activities such as shopping for groceries, caring for someone, or working for one of a limited number of businesses allowed to be open during the crisis. Individual outdoor exercise is also allowed.

The order reiterates gatherings of more than ten people are banned, while restaurants must offer drive-thru, curbside pick-up, or delivery service. It says evictions are suspended, though people are still required to make rent and mortgage payments. 

“This will not be easy for anyone, but we believe it is the right course of action,” Reeves said. “We know that there are many people who are scared, wondering what this means for their wages and their ability to put food on the table. We are here for you and working hard to help. Mississippi will not allow you to fall without a hand to help you back up.” 

Reeves indicated he did not want to rush into an order, but will leave it place, potentially, for weeks or months, saying it would be “impossible” to enforce over the long-term.

“If you will comply, if you will do your part, we’ll be able slow the spread,” he said. “We’ll have better data, and hopefully, we’ll be able to remove this (order) as scheduled, as planned.” 

Reeves urged residents not to rush out to stores and hoard groceries. He asked that people shop for the next week to 10 days and avoid stockpiling certain items.

Key details within the order include:

  • When people leave their homes for essential reasons or exercise, they should maintain a distance with others of six feet, and maintain “aggressive hygiene” strategies, including frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer use.
  • Businesses deemed nonessential must stop operating, though they can maintain certain staff for purposes such as security, maintaining equipment, and carrying out payroll.
  • Residents may travel to schools and colleges to pick up materials for remote learning. 
  • Health care operations such as hospitals and clinics will stay open, but gyms, dance studios, salons, barber shops, and other personal care and grooming facilities must close. For instance, people can still go to medical appointments or the pharmacy.
  • Restaurants can stay open, but only offering drive-thru, curbside, or delivery services.
  • All outdoor recreation areas where people gather will be closed, including playgrounds, beaches, and lakes. Walking trails will still be open to allow for exercise.
  • People who feel unsafe at home, for example due to domestic violence, should seek assistance from law enforcement in order to find a separate and secure place to stay. 

“We continue to believe the more tests we do, the more likely our offensive strategy is about to work,” Governor Reeves said. 

The Governor stressed many of the state’s outbreaks appear to be coming from gatherings such as funerals, weddings and church services. These gatherings, if they involve more than ten people, “should not happen,” he said, including on Easter Sunday on April 12.

“For the safety of yourselves for the safety of your loved ones, for the safety of all Mississippians, I have to ask you not to gather in groups of 10 or more, even if that is on Easter Sunday,” he said.

To read the Governor’s Executive Order #1466, click here.

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The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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