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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.

Confirmed Cases: 37542

Reported Deaths: 1272
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds304154
DeSoto200920
Madison150839
Jones123149
Harrison118316
Rankin113719
Neshoba104577
Forrest104343
Lauderdale97281
Scott83115
Jackson80419
Washington75313
Copiah67516
Leake63520
Lee63022
Grenada6259
Oktibbeha62328
Warren60021
Holmes59841
Lamar5847
Wayne56819
Yazoo5667
Lowndes54917
Leflore53956
Lincoln53835
Pike51120
Lafayette5094
Sunflower5058
Panola4616
Monroe46036
Simpson4533
Covington4505
Bolivar41618
Tate39513
Attala38624
Newton37710
Adams36720
Pontotoc3636
Marion34912
Claiborne31511
Pearl River30832
Chickasaw30219
Winston30211
Marshall2973
Jasper2826
Noxubee2799
Walthall2748
Clay26211
Smith25612
Union25612
Coahoma2356
Clarke22825
Lawrence2162
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1974
Montgomery1863
Kemper18414
Carroll18311
Humphreys17410
Calhoun1705
Hancock15213
Itawamba1478
Tippah14711
Jefferson1373
Webster13511
Prentiss1274
Tunica1263
George1253
Jefferson Davis1254
Greene11610
Alcorn1112
Amite1113
Tishomingo1091
Quitman1011
Wilkinson1019
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin572
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
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