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: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
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