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Gov. Reeves to relax some restrictions on shelter-in-place order

Gov. Tate Reeves announced that effective 8 a.m. Monday, some of his COVID-19 shelter-in-place  restrictions will be relaxed.

Reeves said Mississippi is beginning to see the curve flatten in the number of statewide COVID-19 cases, which is a result of the stiff rules and regulations in place and rigorous testing.

“Dr. (Thomas) Dobbs and his team in the state health department tells me it means we can safely start to shift our strict rules on all Mississippians,” Reeves said. “We can continue to be smart. We can continue to avoid using a sledgehammer, and we can be more surgical in our decisions.”

Reeves said he signed a “Safer Home Order” Friday morning.

“It goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday,” Reeves said. “Here is what it does. It urges all Mississippians to stay home, except for essential travel. That is still the safest behavior. I continue to ask you, ‘Please stay at home as much as you possibly can. You still have to be smart. You are still responsible for your safety and for the safety of your loved ones.”

Despite the new order Reeves said residents should remain vigilant.

“Social distancing is working,” Reeves said. “Our aggressive testing and contact tracing are working. You are saving lives but we cannot let our guard down. We cannot pretend this is over. It is not. The fight must go on. Why? Because we are facing a public health crisis. This threat is real. It is deadly. This virus is historically contagious. We must not take it lightly but we are also facing a historic economic crisis.”

Reeves said small businesses and working class citizens are shouldering the brunt of the economic burden.

“Mississippi’s small businesses and workers have bared the brunt of this damage,” Reeves said. “That is who has been asked to shoulder this country’s burden. It is not fair and it is not right. We are starting to reopen our economy. We cannot slam the door open. That would be reckless and put lives at risk. It is not a light switch. That only goes on and off. It is a dimmer. We can take measured steps to make life better for Mississippians.”

Reeves said there is no such thing as a non-essential Mississippian.

“Every job is essential to the worker and his or her family who depend on his or her paycheck for food, for supplies and for shelter,” Reeves said. “In a typical week before this virus hit our souls about 1,000 Mississippians would have applied for unemployment assistance. In the past few weeks alone, we have seen about 150,000 Mississippians apply with many more attempting to get through but were blocked by the surge.”

With that, Reeves said he signed the Safer at Home order, which includes the following guidelines:

  • Mississippians are encouraged to stay at home unless they need to leave for essential activities or essential travel, such as caring for someone in the vulnerable population, getting food or necessary supplies, and going to work.
  • All those in the vulnerable population are instructed to continue sheltering in place to protect their health.
    • This includes all elderly individuals (age 65 or older per CDC guidelines) and individuals with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised as such by chemotherapy for cancer or any other condition requiring such therapy.
  • When outside of their homes, people must follow social distancing guidelines by maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and avoid groups of 10 or more.
  • Social and other non-essential gatherings in groups of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Evictions are suspended, though people are still required to pay any rent or make any mortgage payments.
  • Certain businesses previously closed under the shelter-in-place are allowed to reopen, while following health and safety mandates recommended by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH).
  • Places of amusement or entertainment, like movie theaters and museums, and businesses that cannot avoid sustained person-to-person contact, like salons or gyms, will remain closed, other than curbside pick-up, drive-thru, or delivery for retails sale of their products but not services.
  • All businesses and non-profit organizations are encouraged to continue allowing their employees to work from home or telework to all extent possible.
  • Restaurants and bars may only remain open for drive-thru, curbside pick-up, and/or delivery service.
  • Retail businesses are to implement reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including limiting the number of customers in their stores at one time to no greater than 50% of their store capacity and making hand sanitizer available to customers upon entry.
  • Healthcare professionals and facilities may resume performing elective medical and dental procedures and surgeries as allowed and approved by MSDH. Such non-emergent procedures and surgeries should limit their use of disposable PPE and not request PPE from any public source.
  • View the Safer at Home Executive Order here.