Mississippi governor bans most gatherings of 10 or more

Gov. Tate Reeves speaking at a news conference in Jackson March 24.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday issued an executive order that further restricts people's physical interactions to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but he is not mandating that people stay at home.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 3:57 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday issued an executive order that further restricts people's physical interactions to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but he is not mandating that people stay at home.

He did not specify whether any steps will be taken to enforce the things he is ordering, including a ban on “nonessential” gatherings of 10 or more people until April 17. Health care facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies and airports are allowed to have more people, but Reeves suggests social distancing.

“Understand that we are not at the end of this pandemic. In fact, we may still be at the beginning stages of this fight," Reeves said during a news conference Tuesday outside the Governor's Mansion.

He ordered Mississippi restaurants and bars statewide to close their dining rooms and offer only carry-out or delivery meals. Some cities and counties have already taken this step.

Reeves said during the news conference that he wants businesses to allow “every possible employee” to work from home. His order lists several types of businesses that should remain open because they are considered essential; that includes farming and construction operations. It also lists essential government services, including courts and child protective services.

Governors in several other states, including Louisiana, are putting tighter limits on people's movements, including stay-at-home orders.

Reeves, a Republican, said he is encouraging — but still not mandating — that people remain home. He said the ban on gatherings includes funerals, weddings and church services.

His order tells people to stop visiting hospitals, nursing homes or long-term care facilities that house those most vulnerable to becoming sick. An exception is for visiting people receiving “imminent end-of-life care.”

The state Health Department said Tuesday that Mississippi had at least 320 coronavirus cases and one death as of Monday evening. A Hancock County resident with underlying health conditions died last week in a Louisiana hospital.

The vast majority of people infected with the novel coronavirus get only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover in about two weeks. But many will need hospitalization. Particularly vulnerable are older adults and those with existing health problems who can develop severe complications, including pneumonia.

Reeves said in response to questions Tuesday that the only abortion clinic in Mississippi should follow the state Health Department's guideline to temporarily stop elective surgeries.

“It is without question that the lone clinic in Jackson does, in fact, operate doing procedures that are elective and not required,” Reeves said. He said if the clinic does not stop, “I would be prepared to try to take additional action," Reeves said, although he did not specify what that would be.

The Health Department said Thursday that medical facilities must postpone elective procedures to conserve protective medical gear that's in short supply. During the news conference Tuesday, the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said he would review what the abortion clinic is doing before he makes any comments.

The clinic's owner, Diane Derzis, told The Associated Press on Monday that she considers abortion an essential health care service, not an elective one.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order during the weekend that prohibits “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.” In Ohio, abortion clinics received letters Friday from the Republican state attorney general ordering them to cease all "non-essential" surgical abortions.

Reeves said Tuesday that Mississippi's income tax filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to May 15.

The governor said he knows of no confirmed coronavirus cases in Mississippi prisons or county jails, but he also said he did not know whether anyone in those facilities has been tested. The state prison system stopped allowing visitors several days ago, and Reeves said workers are increasing sanitation efforts.

Mississippi public schools are closed until at least April 17, but some public and private schools have started online classes. He said that as of Tuesday, more than 360 sites were providing lunches for students, either for pickup or delivery.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has started providing public notices about the coronavirus in Spanish as well as English.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530325

Reported Deaths: 10966
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763971520
Mobile40908804
Madison34717503
Tuscaloosa25730452
Montgomery24314588
Shelby23401249
Baldwin21107307
Lee15856171
Calhoun14488314
Morgan14282279
Etowah13819353
Marshall12210223
Houston10557280
Elmore10044205
Limestone9954150
Cullman9649193
St. Clair9644242
Lauderdale9419241
DeKalb8825185
Talladega8214175
Walker7223277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6804112
Blount6651137
Colbert6292134
Coffee5506119
Dale4828111
Russell440638
Chilton4279112
Franklin425582
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4019152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3547151
Clarke350861
Marion3113100
Pike310577
Lawrence299898
Winston274072
Bibb260464
Marengo249264
Geneva249077
Pickens234160
Barbour230757
Hale222677
Butler215969
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184445
Randolph179941
Monroe177340
Washington167039
Macon158750
Clay156156
Crenshaw152057
Cleburne148741
Lamar141934
Lowndes138653
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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