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Governor Tate Reeves talks reopening some businesses

Gov. Tate Reeves

The Governor has not set a timeline for allowing restaurants to reopen for dine-in services.

Posted: Apr 22, 2020 7:12 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday that he expects to take steps next week in a gradual reopening of the state's economy during the coronavirus pandemic. He didn't specify what those will be, but said he's taking advice from public health experts.

He also said he recognizes that people face economic hardships.

“I've said it before and I will say it again: There is no such thing as a nonessential business to the owners and the people who depend on that business to provide for their families,” the Republican governor said.

Orders issued in Mississippi and other places have closed many businesses in recent weeks to try to slow the spread of the virus. Grocery stores and pharmacies are among those allowed to remain open because they are deemed essential. Early this week, Reeves took the first step toward easing restrictions on some businesses classified as nonessential, including clothing stores and florists, by allowing them to sell items for delivery or curbside pickup.

Reeves's current statewide stay-at-home order expires Monday morning. He said Wednesday that he's likely to extend that order for people who are most vulnerable to the highly contagious virus — those who are 65 or older or who have conditions such as obesity or high blood pressure.

He also said he has not set a timeline for allowing restaurants to reopen for dine-in services.

“Much to the chagrin of some ... we did not shut those down very early in this process," Reeves said. "We allowed restaurants to (remain) open, particularly those who could key social distancing guidelines in effect. We allowed them to serve groups of smaller than 10 people.”

He said it is likely to be a gradual process in reverse, with restaurants being required at first to limit the number of customers and to provide space for people to keep distance from each other.

The state Health Department said Wednesday that Mississippi had at least 4,894 confirmed cases and 193 deaths from the coronavirus as of Tuesday evening. That was an increase of 178 cases and 10 deaths from the previous day. The state’s population is about 3 million.

The number of 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.

The department said Monday that at least 470 coronavirus cases have been confirmed at long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

The Health Department said more than 53,800 coronavirus tests had been done in the state as of Tuesday.

Reeves said Wednesday that four inmates in the Mississippi prison system had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, and 19 inmates have tested negative. He said a test for one inmate was still pending. The Department of Corrections previously said that one inmate who tested positive for the virus had died.

Four staff members for the Department of Corrections have tested positive for the virus, and at least one of those people has returned to work, Reeves said. He said 25 corrections staff members have tested negative, and test results for six others are still pending.

The Mississippi prison system has about 20,500 inmates in custody.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117617

Reported Deaths: 3302
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8050179
DeSoto728580
Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
Madison386194
Lee366582
Forrest311878
Jones296684
Washington2627100
Lafayette255043
Lauderdale2546135
Lamar231940
Oktibbeha204855
Bolivar203979
Neshoba1868111
Lowndes181962
Panola172040
Leflore170688
Sunflower164349
Warren156156
Monroe153873
Pontotoc150620
Marshall148430
Lincoln143359
Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
Coahoma125837
Union125825
Yazoo123434
Simpson123149
Grenada122939
Tate121039
Itawamba117226
Leake116342
Pearl River116360
Holmes115060
Adams109445
Prentiss109220
Alcorn104512
Wayne102722
George101719
Covington98829
Marion95943
Tippah94924
Newton87227
Hancock86828
Chickasaw86727
Tallahatchie85526
Winston85221
Tishomingo82741
Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 160380

Reported Deaths: 2713
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
Marshall445251
Etowah436552
Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
Elmore326558
St. Clair307042
Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
Cleburne5779
Wilcox57112
Conecuh56513
Macon54120
Lamar5165
Sumter47721
Choctaw39412
Greene34616
Coosa2143
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