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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.

Confirmed Cases: 31257

Reported Deaths: 1114
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds253640
DeSoto162016
Madison131434
Jones112849
Neshoba99271
Rankin95112
Harrison93311
Lauderdale91079
Forrest87842
Scott77315
Jackson63816
Copiah60715
Washington5919
Leake57819
Holmes55741
Lee55219
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51618
Yazoo5136
Lowndes49413
Leflore49151
Grenada4905
Lincoln46634
Lamar4657
Pike44112
Monroe40330
Sunflower4008
Lafayette3934
Attala36123
Covington3595
Panola3526
Bolivar34014
Newton3399
Simpson3233
Adams31318
Pontotoc2926
Tate28810
Marion28411
Chickasaw27918
Claiborne27910
Noxubee2678
Winston2666
Jasper2636
Pearl River25732
Clay25111
Marshall2343
Smith21811
Union2109
Clarke20724
Walthall2045
Coahoma2016
Kemper17914
Lawrence1782
Yalobusha1737
Carroll16611
Humphreys1509
Tallahatchie1374
Itawamba1368
Montgomery1352
Calhoun1324
Tippah13111
Hancock13013
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1124
Jefferson1083
Prentiss1083
Greene1058
Tunica1053
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George893
Tishomingo831
Quitman780
Choctaw744
Alcorn712
Perry674
Stone651
Franklin452
Benton380
Sharkey380
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5410152
Montgomery4158103
Mobile4129134
Tuscaloosa232142
Marshall172410
Madison14917
Lee141137
Shelby133423
Morgan11215
Walker97824
Elmore94314
Franklin89814
Baldwin8949
Dallas8919
Etowah75013
DeKalb7375
Chambers64227
Butler63428
Autauga61012
Tallapoosa60569
Russell5650
Houston5074
Unassigned50323
Limestone5010
Lauderdale4966
Lowndes47221
Cullman4594
Pike4375
Colbert4086
St. Clair4022
Escambia3966
Coffee3812
Calhoun3765
Covington3707
Bullock36910
Barbour3532
Talladega3177
Hale31421
Marengo31211
Dale2990
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Jackson2842
Clarke2776
Winston2633
Chilton2522
Blount2431
Monroe2392
Pickens2366
Marion23313
Conecuh2107
Randolph2099
Macon1999
Choctaw19512
Bibb1941
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1117
Lawrence1100
Cherokee1027
Geneva830
Lamar781
Fayette711
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne381
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