Governor establishes new website for small businesses owners

Small business owners can find a list of eligibility guidelines on the Back to Business Mississippi website, backtobusinessms.org.

Mississippi has established a website where owners of small businesses can soon start applying for grants funded by a federal coronavirus pandemic relief package.

Posted: May 29, 2020 8:05 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2020 3:08 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi has established a website where owners of small businesses can soon start applying for grants funded by a federal coronavirus pandemic relief package, Gov. Tate Reeves said Friday.

The site — backtobusinessms.org — has rules for the program created by state legislators and approved by Reeves. Grants of $1,500 to $25,000 are available to businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Reeves said the state is in the process of hiring a private contractor to administer the program. Although the Republican governor has said many times that he wants to get money to businesses soon, he cautioned that there could be a rush of applications in the beginning.

“There are going to be growing pains. We are starting up a program from scratch," Reeves said.

The governor has gradually eased restrictions on businesses in recent weeks, allowing barbershops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors and casinos to reopen and restaurants to allow dine-in services — all with additional health regulations and limits on customers to try to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious virus. Starting Monday, all types of businesses, including movie theaters, will be allowed to reopen under those rules.

“Open for business does not mean risk-free,” Reeves said Friday, cautioning that people should still wear masks and practice social distancing when they're away from home.

Extra precautions have been mandated in eight of Mississippi's 82 counties that have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Reeves said Friday that he's revising the list by removing Attala, Leake, Scott and Newton counties. He also said he's adding Wayne County to the remaining four: Holmes, Jasper, Neshoba and Lauderdale.

In those five counties, masks must be worn by people at outdoor events such as flea markets or auctions, and by those shopping inside. Businesses must provide masks for their employees in retail settings, and employees must wear masks while working.

In addition, businesses are required to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each shift, to provide hand sanitizer and ensure employees remain at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart wherever possible. Those who cannot maintain that distance must wear a mask while working, and the mask must be sanitized or replaced daily.

The state Health Department said Friday that Mississippi — with a population of about 3 million — has had at least 14,790 confirmed cases and 710 deaths from the coronavirus as of Thursday evening. That was an increase of 418 cases and 17 deaths from the numbers reported a day earlier. The numbers include four deaths that occurred May 11-15, with information arriving later on death certificates.

The number of coronavirus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. For others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

The Health Department said at least 1,839 cases of the virus have been confirmed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, with at least 358 virus-related deaths in those facilities.

The department also said Friday that more than 166,300 coronavirus tests had been conducted in Mississippi as of Thursday. More than 7,300 of those were blood tests that detect whether a person has antibodies that usually show up after an infection is resolved.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297651

Reported Deaths: 6808
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19829231
Hinds18966395
Harrison16899283
Rankin12851265
Jackson12754234
Lee9722163
Madison9522204
Jones8042148
Forrest7295138
Lauderdale6879228
Lowndes6062140
Lamar593982
Lafayette5768114
Washington5235130
Bolivar4632124
Oktibbeha443295
Panola433798
Pearl River4219132
Warren4145115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall406595
Monroe3998129
Union397074
Neshoba3857171
Lincoln3630104
Hancock353378
Leflore3402122
Sunflower321386
Tate304674
Pike302797
Scott296771
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292266
Itawamba290775
Coahoma283169
Tippah280265
Copiah280159
Simpson277881
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255741
Leake254572
Covington250480
Grenada248978
Adams235978
Newton233353
George232845
Winston222579
Jasper214545
Tishomingo213266
Attala210571
Chickasaw202054
Holmes183470
Clay179452
Stone173529
Tallahatchie171839
Clarke170773
Calhoun158728
Smith154333
Yalobusha146036
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123335
Lawrence121621
Carroll119725
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102931
Tunica99824
Claiborne99130
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91523
Quitman77514
Franklin76520
Choctaw70317
Jefferson62927
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499819

Reported Deaths: 10148
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson720331403
Mobile36423741
Madison32708469
Tuscaloosa24457422
Montgomery22805523
Shelby22276219
Baldwin19935289
Lee15083161
Calhoun13963296
Morgan13801255
Etowah13419327
Marshall11460215
Houston10130264
Elmore9515190
Limestone9440139
St. Clair9057228
Cullman9000183
Lauderdale8630214
DeKalb8509175
Talladega7647165
Walker6601260
Jackson6552104
Autauga634792
Blount6256128
Colbert6010121
Coffee5261104
Dale4685107
Russell408134
Franklin400879
Covington3999107
Chilton3922104
Escambia379573
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3434111
Dallas3428142
Pike293173
Marion288996
Lawrence286287
Winston258668
Bibb246558
Marengo245357
Geneva240670
Pickens226357
Barbour213951
Hale212969
Fayette202857
Butler201666
Henry183741
Cherokee178240
Monroe166739
Randolph165441
Washington157136
Macon147845
Crenshaw146955
Clay146254
Cleburne140341
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123125
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter101032
Coosa90324
Greene88932
Choctaw56123
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