JACKSON — Today, Governor Tate Reeves signed a new executive order establishing a statewide shelter-in-place for Mississippi to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of all who call our state home.
The Mississippi Department of Health determined that our state has now reached a critical point in the cycle of the outbreak, and Governor Reeves announced his decision to issue the shelter-in-place order for Mississippi at a press conference this afternoon.
Mississippi is rapidly increasing testing and strictly enforcing quarantines for anyone that investigators believe has been exposed to the virus. The shelter-in-place will begin this Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5 p.m. and be in effect until Monday, April 20, 2020 at 8 a.m.
Here are Governor Reeves' remarks from today's press conference:
GOVERNOR REEVES: This is a somber time—for our country and our state. We are all in grave danger, from coast to coast. As leaders, our top priority is and always will be the safety of our citizens.
Every day, for the last several weeks, I have asked our health experts whether it is time for the ultimate action of a “shelter in place” order statewide. Yesterday, for the first time, we got the answer we had been anticipating. They told me we are now at the point in Mississippi’s cycle where such drastic restrictions are required. Today is the day. We are announcing a shelter-in-place order. It will go into effect on Friday at 5:00 PM.
I will let our top health official, Dr. Dobbs, explain his thought process behind the timing. I just want to offer a simple message to Mississippi:
This will not be easy for anyone, but we believe it is right. 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.
We know that there are some who still do not have a healthy fear of this virus. They are wrong, and they are risking lives if they do not take this seriously.
This order will be enforced. It will be taken very, very seriously. It will not be forever. We will get through this and open our state back up as soon as our health experts tell me it is wise.
Our goal is to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed. I pray that all of our orders and preparations will be enough. We believe that this is the right tool at the right time to save lives.
Today, this is the best course of action for Mississippi. I’ll turn it over to Dr. Dobbs for some more information.
In this latest executive order, the Governor lays out the guidelines of the statewide shelter-in-place to slow the spread of COVID-19, including:
* Individuals are to stay at home except for the limited allowances in the executive order.
* 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.
* Evictions are suspended, though people are still required to pay any rent or make any mortgage payments.
* All nonessential businesses are to stop all activities other than those necessary for minimum operations (e.g. payroll, health insurance, security) and enabling employees to work from home.
* Social and other non-essential gatherings in groups of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled.
* Restaurants and bars may only remain open for drive-thru, curbside, and/or delivery service.
* People may leave their homes only to perform essential activities, such as caring for someone in the vulnerable population, getting food or necessary supplies, and working for an essential business.
* Individual outdoor recreation is encouraged, but not group recreation or activities such as soccer or basketball games.
This is the list of Essential Businesses:
Essential Government Functions: Public safety and first responders, law enforcement, fire prevention and response, courts and court personnel, military, emergency management personnel, corrections, probation and parole, child protection, child welfare, EMTs, 911 call center employees and all workers and vendors that support law enforcement and emergency management operations and services.
Essential Healthcare Operations: Hospitals, clinics, research and lab operations, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, congregate care facilities, assisted living facilities, elder care, medical wholesale and distribution, home health workers and aides, medical supply and equipment manufacturers and providers, medical waste disposal, hazardous waste disposal and other ancillary healthcare services.
Essential Infrastructure: Power generation, nuclear facilities, utility poles and components, fuel and transmission, petroleum producers, suppliers and distributors, supply chain companies, telecommunications, electronic security and life safety services, wireless communications, communications sales and customer support, telecommunications and data centers, cybersecurity operations, flood control, operations of dams, aviation, airports, ports, roads and highways, mass transit, automotive sales and repairs, vehicle rental services, taxi and network providers, freight and passenger rail, pipelines, transportation infrastructure, public water and wastewater, hazardous waste disposal, hotels and commercial lodging services.
Essential Manufacturing: Food processing and production, pharmaceuticals, food additives, medical equipment, medical devices and supplies, technology, biotechnology, chemicals products, telecommunications products, automotive production and suppliers, healthcare, energy, steel and steel products, fuel and petroleum exploration and production, lubricants, greases and engine oils, mining, national defense, sanitary and cleaning products, household products, personal care products and products used by other essential business or operation.
Essential Agriculture and Farming: Food cultivation, livestock, cattle, poultry and seafood operations, livestock auctions, feedlots, dealers and brokers of livestock, livestock transporters, farmer’s markets, feed stores, repair of agricultural equipment, gas, diesel and petroleum suppliers, aquaculture, horticulture, chemicals (including pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer) producers and distributors, forest products businesses including those involved in forestry operations, logging, manufacturer or lumber and paper products, meat processing facilities, rendering facilities and transporters, feed processing facilities and veterinary services.
Essential Retail: Supermarkets, food and beverage stores, food providers, convenience stores, pharmacies, hardware and building materials, gas stations and restaurants or bars (but only to the extent that no more than 10 people are gathered in such restaurants or bars in a single space at the same time where people are in seated or otherwise in close proximity to each other or for curbside pick-up, carryout or delivery.)
Essential Services: Trash collection, mail and shipping services, home repair, automotive sales and repair, warehouse, distribution and fulfillment centers, laundromats/laundry services.
Essential Media: Newspapers, digital news sites, television, radio and other media services.
Education - including educators supporting public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research or other essential functions including public schools preparing and transporting free and reduced meals to eligible students within their respective districts.
Essential Financial Services: Banks and related financial institutions, insurance, payroll, accounting, processing financial transactions and services related to financial markets.
Essential Professional Services: Legal services, accounting services, insurance services and real estate services.
Providers of Basic Necessities to the Economically Disadvantaged: including businesses, religious and secular non-profit organizations, food banks, foster care, homeless shelters and congregate care facilities.
Essential Construction and Construction Related Services: Building and construction, lumber, building materials and hardware, electricians, plumbers, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial, HVACR and water heating industry, painting, moving and relocating services, other skilled trades, and other related construction firms and professionals for maintaining essential infrastructure.
Essential Services to Maintain Safety and Sanitation: Law enforcement, fire prevention and response, firearm and ammunition manufacturers and retailers, building code enforcement, security, emergency management and response, building cleaning including disinfection, automotive sales and repair, mortuaries and cemeteries.
Defense Industrial Base - including employers and personnel who support the essential products and services required to meet national security commitments to the Federal Government and the U. S. Military, including personnel working for companies and their subcontractors, who perform under contract to the Department of Defense providing materials and services to the Department of Defense and government-owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities.
Essential Vendors: Logistics and technology support, child care programs and services, medical waste disposal and hazardous waste disposal.
Essential Religious Entities: Religious and faith-based facilities, entities and groups, religious gatherings (can not exceed the 10-person limit).