Severity: Warning Alert
Transportation: As of July 21, officials in Mississippi, US, have imposed additional restrictions in several counties due to increased COVID-19 activity.
- Alert Begins: 21 Jul 2020 03:52 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 04 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Mississippi (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business disruptions likely
As of July 21, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has issued several executive orders to extend statewide restrictions currently in place, while imposing additional restrictions on 23 counties, to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new directives will be in place through at least Aug. 3.
In the 23 counties where COVID-19 activity has increased the most in recent weeks, authorities have ordered residents to wear face masks whenever they are in public gatherings or in a shopping environment. Gatherings of more than 10 people indoors, and 20 people outdoors, are banned. The affected counties are:
- Bolivar, Claiborne, Covington, Desoto, Forrest, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Panola, Quitman, Rankin, Sharkey, Simpson, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Walthall, Washington, and Wayne
Additionally, authorities have extended the Safe Return order, which establishes several restrictions statewide, until at least Aug. 3. The order encourages residents 65 years and older, and those with underlying health conditions, to remain home as much as possible. Outside of the most-affected counties, gatherings of up to 20 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors are allowed where social distancing measures are not possible; where social distancing is possible, gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors are allowed.
All businesses are allowed to operate statewide, albeit with some limitations, including:
- Restaurants and bars can open at 50 percent capacity.
- Gyms and fitness centers can open at 50 percent capacity.
- Reception halls and conference centers can open at 25 percent capacity; for seated events only, they can open at 50 percent capacity.
- Outdoor and indoor arenas can operate at 25 percent capacity.
- Retail store, indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, amusement parks, and personal care businesses can open at 50 percent capacity.
All businesses must follow enhanced sanitation procedures, ensure social distancing measures and the use of protective equipment when necessary. Authorities also urge businesses to maintain employees working from home whenever possible, to check for workers' symptoms, and send them home if sick. Public schools may reopen for in-person activities, such as summer programs, and individualized tutoring.
County and municipal authorities are allowed to impose stricter restrictions within their jurisdictions if they consider it necessary. Business disruptions remain likely. Officials could amend the order on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.
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.