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: 115088

Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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