State reacts to First Monday flea market reopening

Mississippi's governor and state health officer are asking the owner of the First Monday flea market in Tippah County to not open this weekend.

Posted: May 1, 2020 8:05 PM
Updated: May 1, 2020 10:22 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) — Mississippi's governor and state health officer are asking the owner of the First Monday flea market in Tippah County to not open this weekend.

"Tippah County has a lot of cases. This is not going anywhere, and I can think of few better ways to spread it than a bunch of strangers coming together in close proximity and exchanging things by hand," State Health Officer Doctor Thomas Dobbs said during the state's Friday coronavirus news conference.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs (r) reacting during Gov. Tate Reeves coronavirus news conference Friday after hearing about plans for the First Monday flea market to be held in Tippah County this weekend. (WLBT/MPB)

Empty stalls Thursday at the site of this weekend's First Monday flea market in Tippah County. (Wayne Hereford)

"Mixing and mingling, talking, not wearing masks and then going back out to their communities, that's how community spread occurs," Governor Tate Reeves added. "Please do not do that."

However, the owner of First Monday, a sprawling 52-acre property that hosts hundreds of vendors, told WTVA 9 News on Thursday he is prepared to protect the vendors and the people who visit.

"As soon as they get here, they're going to be given the rules about social distancing, all the stuff to do," owner Jerry Windham said. "We're going to have masks available. Vendors are going to have them. We'll have people going around with hand sanitizer from Cathead Distillery. We're going to be spraying hands out in the field as they go."

Windham added he has heard complaints from those who don't think opening up is a good idea right now.

"We've talked to the county's attorneys, our own sheriff," Windham said. "We feel like if we'll do everything reasonably possibly to keep people safe and do it within the guidelines the governor has set forth, then everything will be okay."

When asked about the flea market, Dobbs and Reeves may not have been aware of the steps Windham planned to take at his venue. It appeared by their reactions this was the first they had heard about the flea market's plans.

Following that came advice to those who plan to go to First Monday.

"Please stay home," Dobbs said.

UPDATE: 

First Monday officials responded to Governor Reeves and Dr. Dobbs Friday evening. 

Their statement reads:

" First Monday Trade Days has operated safely in Tippah County for more than a century and will continue to do so this weekend. The health and safety of our patrons is always our paramount concern. We determined to reopen after the Governor issued his guidelines that also allowed regional shopping malls and other retail outlets across the state to reopen this past week. We are also not aware of any change to the plan to reopen retail businesses statewide. While we recognize that there will always be risk, First Monday is a law-abiding business and, like every other business in the state, will operate according to the law. We will exercise every effort to maintain social distancing with other CDC guidelines and will limit the number of patrons on the property, if necessary, in order to keep the public safe. First Monday has no interest in putting the public at any enhanced risk but does not want to be singled-out as being different from any other retail business. We encourage the pubic to exercise personal responsibility to
help us keep everyone else safe as they do business. First Monday appreciates its vendors and patrons as we continue to work through these challenging times as safely as possible. Thank you. "

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312926

Reported Deaths: 7226
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21474257
Hinds20271414
Harrison17796309
Rankin13561278
Jackson13404246
Madison10062217
Lee9961173
Jones8364163
Forrest7644152
Lauderdale7178240
Lowndes6366144
Lamar621286
Lafayette6168118
Washington5322133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha461198
Panola4556105
Pearl River4494145
Marshall4396103
Warren4376121
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4094133
Union408876
Neshoba4024176
Lincoln3947110
Hancock377086
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332384
Pike3294105
Scott315273
Alcorn311568
Yazoo310669
Itawamba299377
Copiah296065
Simpson294488
Coahoma294279
Tippah287668
Prentiss279360
Marion268780
Adams266082
Leake265573
Wayne262341
Grenada260186
Covington256381
George246748
Newton245961
Winston226881
Tishomingo225567
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone181833
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun169832
Yalobusha163336
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125838
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104726
Claiborne102230
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95328
Franklin83423
Quitman80016
Choctaw76018
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530011

Reported Deaths: 10946
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763591519
Mobile40875804
Madison34676503
Tuscaloosa25717451
Montgomery24308585
Shelby23389248
Baldwin21093307
Lee15844169
Calhoun14481313
Morgan14281279
Etowah13813353
Marshall12203222
Houston10553280
Elmore10036205
Limestone9952150
Cullman9647193
St. Clair9634239
Lauderdale9413241
DeKalb8821185
Talladega8210175
Walker7222277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6803111
Blount6645136
Colbert6291134
Coffee5503118
Dale4826111
Russell440038
Chilton4263111
Franklin425482
Covington4120117
Tallapoosa4006152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3544151
Clarke350861
Marion3111100
Pike310177
Lawrence299898
Winston273772
Bibb260463
Marengo249164
Geneva248777
Pickens233760
Barbour230757
Hale222577
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184345
Randolph179941
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158650
Clay155956
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148741
Lamar141834
Lowndes138553
Wilcox127029
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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Columbus
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High pressure will briefly dominate our weather forecast for Friday and Saturday. However, more low pressure moves into our area for the end of the weekend. This will bring back into our area some more chances for some rain and thunderstorms.
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