JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced a shelter-in-place order for Lauderdale County to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
This is the first order of its kind from the governor’s office and demanded all non-essential business to cease operations Tuesday night until at least April 14.
“This is the first of many actions that will come as a result of our ‘Identify and Isolate’ strategy to protect Mississippi’s health care system from being overwhelmed. Keeping Mississippians healthy and safe while working to slow the spread remains our top priority. This order builds on the state’s other social distancing requirements to protect public health. Please stay home so we can all stay healthy.”
According to the Mississippi Department of Health, Lauderdale County has 35 confirmed cases and zero deaths as of Tuesday morning. There are several other counties that have more cases, including Hinds (90), Desoto (84), Harrison (45), Madison (42), Jackson (40) and Rankin (40).
Reeves acknowledged that fact in the news conference, but said their main focus is to identify those areas in communities that could be classified as hot spots. Based on the data, he said he was urged to take action in that community only at this time.
Reeves said he is prepared to take additional steps in Lauderdale and other counties when the data supports doing so.
Guidelines for Lauderdale County’s shelter in place:
- 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.
To date, Mississippi has confirmed 937 cases and 20 deaths.