4.25.20 – WAPT
Gov. Tate Reeves is issuing a new “Safer-at-Home” order that will replace the shelter-in-place order Mississippi has been under for the past three weeks.
“The Safer-at-Home order is not a return to normal. I wish that it was. I know one day we will, today is not that day,” Reeves said.
The new executive order urges all Mississippians to stay home except for essential travel. Those who are vulnerable to COVID-19 — people with pre-existing conditions, compromised immune systems and others — should continue to shelter-in-place based on the CDC guidelines, Reeves said.
Guidelines for social distancing and staying away from groups of 10 or more people remain in place, the governor said.
The new order goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday and will remain in effect statewide for two weeks, the governor said.
“We are allowing most closed businesses to reopen under certain health and safety mandates from our health department. I wish we could open for everyone, but we’re not there yet,” Reeves said.
Businesses should continue to allow employees who can work from home to continue to do so, Reeves said.
Retail stores can reopen, but they must take measures to ensure that they have half the capacity of shoppers the store can hold, Reeves said. Theaters, bars and casinos must remain closed, but restaurants can continue with drive-thru, curbside pickup and delivery services.
Entertainment venues, like movie theaters, bars and museums, will remain closed, Reeves said. Salons, gyms, clubs, spas, tattoo parlors, barber shops will remain closed, but can still sell excess supplies over the internet.
“I want you to open. We’re just not there yet,” Reeves said. “Your day will come as soon as it is safe, I promise.”
Under the new order, elective medical or dental procedures may be performed as allowed and approved by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Mississippi has reported more than 200 deaths and over 5,000 cases of COVID-19, but those numbers are much lower than some predictions for the state, Reeves said. He credited Mississippians for following social distancing and shelter-in-place orders with flattening the curve.
“Not everything that is legal is wise. Freedom always carries risk. We still believe in personal responsibility. You should do what is safe for you and your family. Your best tool is your common sense,” Reeves said.
The governor emphasized that social distancing guidelines could extend into the summer to keep COVID-19 in check.
“There is a lot of data out there that suggests that the summer months tend to slow viruses in general,” Reeves said. “Coronavirus, in particular, you should probably expect the unexpected.”
“Normal gatherings throughout the summer are extremely unlikely to be safe,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
Reeves also reminded Mississippi residents against attending in-person church gatherings. He encouraged outreaches of faith to continue online or in other socially distanced ways.
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