Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Mississippi, US, to begin lifting business restrictions April 27. Residents urged to stay at home through May 11.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Greenville, Mississippi
  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • Tupelo, Mississippi
  • Columbus-Starkville, Mississippi
  • Meridian, Mississippi

This alert began 24 Apr 2020 23:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Mississippi (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 11
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has issued an executive order lifting some coronavirus (COVID-19)-related business restrictions, while urging residents to stay home, except to perform essential tasks, through at least May 11. Under the new directive, many nonessential businesses, including retailers, may reopen starting April 27, provided they comply with special mandates concerning sanitation, social distancing, personal protective equipment, and other measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Companies are still urged to allow employees to work from home to the extent possible. Nevertheless, gyms and fitness centers, museums, amusement parks, theaters, cinemas, and other entertainment venues, as well as personal care businesses, such as barbershops, will remain closed. Restaurants may still only operate for delivery and pickup services. Parks, beaches and lakes will continue to stay closed.

Despite authorizing certain businesses to reopen, Governor Reeves' instruction also extends Mississippi's "Safer at Home" order, which urges all residents to stay at home except to perform essential tasks, through at least May 11. Residents may leave their homes to obtain essential goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, or go to work. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational activities, provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines, Persons 65 years of age and older, and those with underlying health conditions, are strongly urged to stay at home. All gatherings of 10 people or more will remain banned.

County and municipal authorities are allowed to impose stricter restrictions within their jurisdictions if they consider it necessary.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing remaining measures. Officials could amend the order on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

 


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