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Natchez mayor requests businesses voluntarily close

NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell issued a statement late Monday requesting restaurants, bars and retail shops voluntarily close or strictly limit in-house patrons to 10 or fewer in compliance with new coronavirus guidelines.

Grennell’s request came a few hours after U.S. President Donald Trump asked Americans to comply with strict recommendations during a Monday afternoon press conference.

“The new coronavirus guidelines recommend that all Americans avoid groups of more than 10 people,” a press release from Grennell states; “avoid discretionary travel, as well as eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts. States with evidence of community transmission of the virus should close schools, as well as bars, restaurants, gyms and other gathering spots.”

Grennell said he is following the guidelines laid out by Trump.

“During this time of National, State, and Local Emergency, I am officially requesting that the Citizens of Natchez strictly comply with the new guidelines issued by the White House today, March 16, 2020. I am extremely distressed knowing that this will cause economic hardship for us all, but it is important that we follow the lead of the national and worldwide experts.”

Grennell said, “specifically I request all Citizens of Natchez to observe the following”:

  • Restaurants, bars and retail shops are asked to voluntarily close or strictly limit their in-house patrons to 10 or fewer individuals at one time and to encourage take-out or delivery services for food and merchandise effective immediately.
  • All house museums and private homes that are open for spring tours are requested to close their doors effective immediately.
  • All gyms and private gathering places are asked to voluntarily close effective immediately.
  • All citizens are requested to forego all travel plans effective immediately. In addition, Mayor Grennell and the Coronavirus Preparedness Task Force urge citizens to heed national warnings about all discretionary travel to any destination outside of the community of Natchez is ill advised. New Orleans has over 70 confirmed Coronavirus cases. Additional closures, effective immediately:
  • The Natchez Convention Center is closed to the public.
  • No parade permits will be issued by the City.
  • The Judge George W. Armstrong Library is closed to the public.

“The intention of the restrictions being imposed nationally and locally is to distance ourselves from contact with others, thereby reducing the spread of this virus,” Grennell said.

The following changes to the Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center and Natchez Transit Department are effective immediately for the safety of our senior population, our customers, patrons, passengers, staff and their families:

  • The Senior Center will temporarily suspend all services that require the gathering of individuals on site at the senior activity center.
  • Natchez Transit System will limit its same day call-in services. Beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, passengers will be required to make advance reservations to schedule their transportation trips.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit CDC.gov/COVID19 or msdh.ms.gov/coronavirus Mississippi Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline: 877-978-6453 (open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday).