Mayor Simmons: Residents asked to follow statewide shelter-in-place order

By JASMINE STEVERSON JSTEVERSON@DDTONLINE.COM,

On Wednesday afternoon, Governor Tate Reeves issued a statewide shelter-in-place order that went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and ending 8 a.m. April 20.

The order was issued as a stronger effort to mitigate the growing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths across the state as well as prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed.

“This will not be easy for anyone, but we believe it is right,” Reeves said.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports a total of 1,358 confirmed COVID-19 and 29 deaths as of Friday morning.

For Washington County, the MSDH reports a total of 31 confirmed cases as of Friday morning.

The MSDH has now begun reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care (LTC) facilities throughout the state.

To stay updated with numbers throughout the state, people should go to msdh.ms.gov.

No outbreaks have been reported for LTC’s in Washington County.

In this 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.

Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons said he is encouraging residents to exercise the guidelines of the order now.

“For the safety of all residents in the city of Greenville, particularly our first responders and medical workers who are on the front line, we want people to shelter in place and stay at home,” Simmons said. “I’m strongly urging our residents to do it now; over the last three to four days we’ve seen an increase in the number of cases per day. If we can begin to shelter in, hopefully we can decrease the spread.

“We know it’s going to get worse before it gets better but if we can slow the increase that we’ve seen over the last days, it will be in the best interest of all of us, especially the elderly and infants and those who have compromised immune systems.”

The list of essential jobs includes:

* 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).