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: 93087

Reported Deaths: 2809
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6956155
DeSoto539355
Harrison372772
Jackson337867
Madison320086
Rankin318875
Lee258567
Jones239978
Forrest238270
Washington217471
Lafayette207239
Lauderdale1994124
Bolivar179065
Oktibbeha174750
Lamar162134
Neshoba1534103
Panola144027
Sunflower141144
Lowndes139857
Warren138050
Leflore136280
Pontotoc122516
Pike120948
Monroe118365
Scott116125
Copiah115933
Coahoma112327
Holmes109158
Marshall107515
Lincoln106253
Grenada105335
Yazoo103629
Simpson101243
Union97824
Tate95137
Leake93937
Adams91736
Wayne87421
Pearl River86250
Marion84133
Prentiss80817
Covington80622
Alcorn76811
Newton75623
Itawamba75221
Tallahatchie74918
George74413
Winston72319
Tishomingo65737
Chickasaw65224
Tippah64216
Attala64125
Walthall59325
Clay57117
Hancock56121
Jasper54915
Noxubee54315
Clarke53539
Smith52114
Calhoun50612
Tunica47913
Montgomery45420
Claiborne45116
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41614
Perry40617
Humphreys37315
Quitman3735
Stone35011
Greene34317
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32511
Amite31210
Carroll31212
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2399
Benton2181
Franklin1893
Choctaw1785
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18911337
Mobile13039289
Montgomery8628173
Madison750775
Tuscaloosa7180114
Lee570559
Shelby564550
Baldwin504749
Marshall382143
Etowah333447
Calhoun332039
Morgan318126
Houston269922
Elmore251947
DeKalb234619
St. Clair221335
Walker220780
Talladega205026
Limestone197319
Cullman183017
Franklin174128
Dallas173626
Russell17112
Autauga167324
Lauderdale164133
Colbert159326
Escambia155725
Blount154214
Jackson149411
Chilton147127
Dale132743
Covington130227
Coffee12708
Pike11519
Tallapoosa113183
Chambers112342
Clarke104917
Marion93728
Butler90838
Barbour8307
Marengo69919
Winston69912
Lowndes64527
Pickens63114
Bibb62810
Hale61228
Randolph60712
Bullock58514
Lawrence58220
Monroe5758
Geneva5634
Cherokee55516
Washington54413
Perry5376
Clay5367
Wilcox53011
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52231
Macon47620
Henry4674
Fayette4189
Sumter41819
Lamar3452
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3206
Greene30015
Coosa1613
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