Governor Tate Reeves has extended Mississippi’s statewide ‘shelter-in-place’ order by one week.
The order, which originally took effect on April 3, was set to expire on April 20. While Governor Reeves says that he had hoped not to extend the order, it had to be done.
“I wanted to come here today, and believed two weeks ago that I definitely would be able to, and announce that we can all ease up and reopen, but we can’t. I know we cannot stay in this position for much longer, but we are still in the eye of the storm.”
The Governor’s announcement comes after he traveled to Washington to meet with President Trump and the COVID-19 task force on Thursday. Yesterday evening, President Trump issued guidelines for states to begin the re-opening process. The guidelines are broken down into three phases that call for the gradual re-opening of state economies based on a continuous decline of new COVID-19 cases.
Governor Reeves says that as they continue to evaluate the available data, such as new cases, deaths and available healthcare resources, this is the best course of action.
“One more week of vigilance, one more week of sheltering in place. It’s working as a temporary tool. It has to work for one more week and then we can begin to re-open our state,” he said. “We are growing more and more confident that we have flattened the curve to the point where victory is within reach. We need one more week to break the back of our enemy.”
Beginning on Monday at 8 a.m., several changes are coming to the shelter in place order. Lakes and beaches will reopen for fishing and recreation and restrictions on certain small businesses will also be relaxed. Drive-thru, curbside and delivery sales by “non-essential businesses” will be allowed. While other businesses may be included, the Governor offered clothing stores, florists, sporting goods stores and salons as examples. Each of these businesses must continue to maintain strict social distancing and health guidelines.
“I cannot sit by while Mississippians are driven into poverty without doing everything in my power to give them some greater ability to take care of themselves,” Governor Reeves said. “Now, I wish I could open it all back up for everyone. I cannot do that without harming even more people, but we do believe that we can safely do this. It’s not enough but it’s a good-faith step toward recovery, and I hope that you will take it as a lifeline and a sign of hope. We are heading towards re-opening. It’s coming soon. There is light at the end of this tunnel, and we are almost there.”
Governor Reeves expressed his concern as unemployment numbers continue to soar in Mississippi and across the country. In the state, claims at the Department of Employment Security have increased by over 14,000% in recent weeks.
This morning, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 169 new cases of COVID-19 with 11 more people passing away due to the virus. This brings the state’s total to 3,793 cases. So far, 140 people have died from COVID-19.