Today marks the start of an additional week under the Shelter in Place Order in Mississippi. As MPB’s Kobee Vance reports, the Governor says it’s important to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, but he’s also easing some restrictions.
The Shelter in Place order by Governor Tate Reeves was set to expire today, but on Friday, he extended the order by one more week. Reeves says this is not just a public health disaster, but an economic crisis as thousands of Mississippians are out of work because of the Coronavirus. But, he says continuing the order is the right decision to protect citizens.
“I’m looking at every number. COVID-19 infections. COVID-19 Deaths. As well as COVID-19 unemployment figures. And they tell me, this is the best course of action at this moment. We need one more week.”
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the Shelter in Place Order has been effective in reducing the overall number of new cases compared to earlier estimates. He says the state is near or at the peak of infection rates.
“It’s hard to say, we are hopeful that we are on the backside of it. You know we have some indicators that that could possibly be the case. As far as healthcare utilization, we probably are like smackdab in the middle unless it gets worse for some reason.”
Dr. Dobbs says thegreatest challenge is providing hospitals with enough personal protective equipment and lab supplies to continue tests and patient care.
To ease the strain of the state’s shutdown, Reeves says some restrictions are being lifted by allowing non-essential businesses to provide curbside and delivery services beginning today.
“Clothing stores, florists, or athletic goods can do safe sales. If a salon or other business wants to safely sell their excess supplies to stay afloat, they can do that. Call ahead, or order online, then safely pick it up.”
Governor Reeves is also allowing beaches and lakes to reopen at the discretion of local officials. He says they will continue to evaluate how the state should move forward to reopen the economy.