Governor establishes new website for small businesses owners

Small business owners can find a list of eligibility guidelines on the Back to Business Mississippi website, backtobusinessms.org.

Mississippi has established a website where owners of small businesses can soon start applying for grants funded by a federal coronavirus pandemic relief package.

Posted: May 29, 2020 8:05 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2020 3:08 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi has established a website where owners of small businesses can soon start applying for grants funded by a federal coronavirus pandemic relief package, Gov. Tate Reeves said Friday.

The site — backtobusinessms.org — has rules for the program created by state legislators and approved by Reeves. Grants of $1,500 to $25,000 are available to businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Reeves said the state is in the process of hiring a private contractor to administer the program. Although the Republican governor has said many times that he wants to get money to businesses soon, he cautioned that there could be a rush of applications in the beginning.

“There are going to be growing pains. We are starting up a program from scratch," Reeves said.

The governor has gradually eased restrictions on businesses in recent weeks, allowing barbershops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors and casinos to reopen and restaurants to allow dine-in services — all with additional health regulations and limits on customers to try to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious virus. Starting Monday, all types of businesses, including movie theaters, will be allowed to reopen under those rules.

“Open for business does not mean risk-free,” Reeves said Friday, cautioning that people should still wear masks and practice social distancing when they're away from home.

Extra precautions have been mandated in eight of Mississippi's 82 counties that have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Reeves said Friday that he's revising the list by removing Attala, Leake, Scott and Newton counties. He also said he's adding Wayne County to the remaining four: Holmes, Jasper, Neshoba and Lauderdale.

In those five counties, masks must be worn by people at outdoor events such as flea markets or auctions, and by those shopping inside. Businesses must provide masks for their employees in retail settings, and employees must wear masks while working.

In addition, businesses are required to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each shift, to provide hand sanitizer and ensure employees remain at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart wherever possible. Those who cannot maintain that distance must wear a mask while working, and the mask must be sanitized or replaced daily.

The state Health Department said Friday that Mississippi — with a population of about 3 million — has had at least 14,790 confirmed cases and 710 deaths from the coronavirus as of Thursday evening. That was an increase of 418 cases and 17 deaths from the numbers reported a day earlier. The numbers include four deaths that occurred May 11-15, with information arriving later on death certificates.

The number of coronavirus 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. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. For others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

The Health Department said at least 1,839 cases of the virus have been confirmed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, with at least 358 virus-related deaths in those facilities.

The department also said Friday that more than 166,300 coronavirus tests had been conducted in Mississippi as of Thursday. More than 7,300 of those were blood tests that detect whether a person has antibodies that usually show up after an infection is resolved.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 479326

Reported Deaths: 9353
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32779484
Hinds30924582
DeSoto30319353
Jackson23542341
Rankin21235366
Lee14803219
Madison14120271
Jones13327223
Forrest13078236
Lauderdale11501303
Lowndes10377176
Lamar10163130
Pearl River9008217
Lafayette8193137
Hancock7404111
Oktibbeha6909122
Washington6900150
Monroe6459159
Neshoba6441201
Warren6387163
Pontotoc623093
Panola6203125
Bolivar6072144
Marshall6068121
Union571386
Pike5574135
Alcorn533289
Lincoln5283131
George466072
Scott454796
Leflore4444140
Prentiss443377
Tippah442180
Itawamba441599
Adams4376116
Tate4327101
Simpson4313112
Wayne430766
Copiah429587
Yazoo419686
Covington413292
Sunflower4123104
Marion4073104
Leake395486
Coahoma391098
Newton367274
Grenada3543104
Stone350359
Tishomingo333288
Attala324286
Jasper313162
Winston303091
Clay294173
Chickasaw286265
Clarke279890
Calhoun263940
Holmes261387
Smith248048
Yalobusha219647
Tallahatchie217550
Walthall209958
Greene206845
Lawrence205732
Perry198553
Amite197651
Webster195042
Noxubee177739
Montgomery171654
Jefferson Davis167442
Carroll161437
Tunica150834
Benton141533
Kemper138039
Claiborne126134
Choctaw126026
Humphreys125937
Franklin116328
Quitman103426
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson87333
Sharkey62320
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 778549

Reported Deaths: 13665
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1105871747
Mobile704651206
Madison49152610
Baldwin35946479
Shelby35796302
Tuscaloosa33410532
Montgomery32906672
Lee22231216
Calhoun20791397
Morgan19605326
Etowah18837449
Marshall17465272
Houston16452368
St. Clair15233293
Limestone14376182
Cullman14348246
Elmore14241256
Lauderdale13298278
Talladega12699230
DeKalb12036233
Walker10430323
Autauga9568133
Blount9555152
Jackson9235146
Coffee8728169
Colbert8426179
Dale8410170
Escambia6526114
Tallapoosa6501172
Covington6396163
Chilton6293141
Russell598555
Franklin5719100
Chambers5315133
Marion4734115
Dallas4665182
Clarke457076
Pike456294
Geneva4315116
Winston417192
Lawrence4086108
Bibb401680
Barbour341968
Marengo323183
Butler314988
Monroe314652
Pickens300470
Randolph299955
Henry298356
Hale289383
Cherokee284652
Fayette275672
Washington244848
Crenshaw235168
Clay225163
Macon217657
Cleburne217149
Lamar192140
Conecuh179646
Lowndes170158
Coosa166432
Wilcox155736
Bullock147742
Perry136036
Sumter124136
Greene120142
Choctaw72826
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Fall has started off exactly as you would have anticipated and it looks like we should have a number of dry days still ahead, but this isn’t a permanent switch, because heat is pegged to return.
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