Southaven, Olive Branch placed under a civil emergency


SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Both Southaven and Olive Branch are under a civil emergency after leaders in both cities passed ordinances on Sunday afternoon.


Local businesses in Southaven will be impacted by the announcement and ordinance at 5 p.m. Sunday after the Board of Alderman gathered for an emergency meeting.

During an the meeting, the board passed an ordinance which calls for restaurants to no longer offer a dine-in option for customers. However, they will be allowed to offer take-out, curbside and delivery services.

All bars, gyms, theaters, salons and recreational facilities must close temporarily while health officials work to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This order does not apply to businesses that are essential including: health clinics, drug stores, pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, day cares, retail stores over 4,000 square feet and hardware stores.

Mayor Darren Musselwhite declared a civil emergency for the city.

“This, in no way, should be misconstrued as a need for panic, but is simply a maneuver to allow us leniency with certain laws which will further allow us to serve our citizens better and also recover unusual costs associated with these circumstances,” Mayor Musselwhite said in an update.

Musselwhite did mention officials are not calling for a ‘shelter-in-place’ order as other cities across the country have done.

He recognized it sounds like a good idea but cities do not have the manpower or resources to enforce it.

“This decision is more effectively made by the state or federal government with much-needed resource allocations to support it,” Mayor Musselwhite said.

Neither the federal government of the state government of Mississippi have announced a ‘shelter-in-place’ order.

Musselwhite acknowledge there will be consequences to these decisions but reiterated officials must make difficult decisions with priorities in line.

“In weighing all risks, we must also consider that the sooner we control the spread of this virus, the sooner we can return to our way of life and a thriving local economy again,” Musselwhite said.

A bar in Southaven posted on Facebook one of its employee tested positive for the virus.

‘Dan McGuinness’ says the bartender’s last day at work was March 17 and was not showing symptoms. They tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

WREG reached out to the business for comment but they declined.


The Olive Branch Board of Alderman also gathered on Sunday, passing a similar ordinance to the one passed in Southaven.

Beginning at 5 p.m. on Sunday and continuing through April 21, restaurants in the Olive Branch area are only allowed to serve food using drive-thrus, curbside pick-up or delivery methods. Restaurants and bars are not allowed to serve people inside the business or on patio dining areas.

Also at 5 p.m., all businesses, clubs organizations, and other gatherings are to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to limit to no more than 10 people.

Essential services are excluded which includes: hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics, drug stores, pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, convenience stores (but not dine-in areas), gas stations, hardware stores and manufacturers and distributors of essential supply chain products.

“With your cooperation and compliance with this ordinance, we will help limit the spread of the virus and maintain essential economic activity and the supply of vital goods and services,” Olive Branch Mayor Scott Phillips said in a statement.

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