MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mid-South leaders are revealing their plans to reopen cities after ‘Safer at Home’ orders were put in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite announced a plan to reopen the city on Facebook after a special meeting on Friday.
He said he plans on lifting some business restrictions when Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ ‘Stay at Home’ order ends April 27.
“With this reopening, it will be a phased approached,” Musselwhite said.
Southaven gyms and restaurant dining areas will be allowed to open as long as the business keeps the building at a 33% occupancy limit and everyone stays six feet apart. Essential businesses will remain the same and churches will not longer have gathering restrictions as well.
However, other businesses will be slowly phased into reopening, which includes: bars, taverns, nightclubs, theaters, recreational and amusement facilities like playgrounds.
According to Musselwhite, restrictions will slowly loosen throughout the end of April and May with hopes to have 100% capacity at businesses on June 1.
“All of this will be contingent upon the governor giving us leniency,” Musselwhite said.
It is a different story for Arkansas.
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he is aiming to have local economies booming by May 4.
“To be able to get there, it takes not just our public health team but also takes the partnership of industry and every aspect of our economy,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson announced a new task force in a press release on Saturday. It is going to be comprised of 27 people from private and public agencies to start discussions next week.
Five people from Memphis are part of a Tennessee task force to look at reopening options. The Tennessee committee is made up of people from four of the large metro areas: Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
At this time, Tennessee leaders have not announced a date to reopen the Volunteer state. WREG did some digging and found out reopening process will be based on certain benchmarks.
“Benchmarks that tell us we’re ready to reopen,” Tennessee Task Force Member and Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Manoj Jain. “Such as looking at a steady decline in the number of cases, looking at hospital capacity, looking at the testing and our capacity for testing, and lastly, our capacity to do contract tracing.”
Members of the Arkansas Task Force:
- Steuart Walton, Runway Group (Chair)
- Wes Ward, Department of Agriculture
- Mike Preston, Department of Commerce
- Stacy Hurst, Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism
- Ted Thomas, Public Service Commission
- Randy Zook, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
- Sylvester Smith, National Federation of Independent Business
- Joey Dean, Associated General Contractors of Arkansas
- Annemarie Jazic, Dillard’s Inc.
- Charlie Spakes, Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association
- Montine McNulty, Arkansas Hospitality Association
- Kelly Eichler, Indoor Recreational Facilities
- Deke Whitbeck, Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation
- Lance Taylor, Arkansas Activities Association
- Hunter Yurachek, University of Arkansas
- Shannon Newton, Arkansas Trucking Association
- Charles Frazier, Rock Region METRO
- Lorrie Trogden, Arkansas Bankers Association
- Dr. Sonny Tucker, Arkansas Southern Baptist Convention
- Bishop Gary Mueller, Arkansas Conference of United Methodists
- Bishop Michael Mitchell, African Methodist Episcopal Church 12th District
- Dr. Richard Abernathy, Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators
- Andy Goodman, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities
- Andrea Henderson, Arkansas Association of Community Colleges
- Dr. Chuck Welch, Arkansas State University System
- David Wroten, Arkansas Medical Society
- Bo Ryall, Arkansas Hospital Association
Memphians on the Tennessee Task Force:
- Alan Crone, Crone Law Firm
- Charles Ewing, Ewing Moving and Storage
- Dr. Manoj Jain, Infectious Disease Specialist
- Kevin Kane, Memphis Tourism
- Beverly Robertson, Greater Memphis Chamber.