State reacts to First Monday flea market reopening

Mississippi's governor and state health officer are asking the owner of the First Monday flea market in Tippah County to not open this weekend.

Posted: May 1, 2020 8:05 PM
Updated: May 1, 2020 10:22 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) — Mississippi's governor and state health officer are asking the owner of the First Monday flea market in Tippah County to not open this weekend.

"Tippah County has a lot of cases. This is not going anywhere, and I can think of few better ways to spread it than a bunch of strangers coming together in close proximity and exchanging things by hand," State Health Officer Doctor Thomas Dobbs said during the state's Friday coronavirus news conference.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs (r) reacting during Gov. Tate Reeves coronavirus news conference Friday after hearing about plans for the First Monday flea market to be held in Tippah County this weekend. (WLBT/MPB)

Empty stalls Thursday at the site of this weekend's First Monday flea market in Tippah County. (Wayne Hereford)

"Mixing and mingling, talking, not wearing masks and then going back out to their communities, that's how community spread occurs," Governor Tate Reeves added. "Please do not do that."

However, the owner of First Monday, a sprawling 52-acre property that hosts hundreds of vendors, told WTVA 9 News on Thursday he is prepared to protect the vendors and the people who visit.

"As soon as they get here, they're going to be given the rules about social distancing, all the stuff to do," owner Jerry Windham said. "We're going to have masks available. Vendors are going to have them. We'll have people going around with hand sanitizer from Cathead Distillery. We're going to be spraying hands out in the field as they go."

Windham added he has heard complaints from those who don't think opening up is a good idea right now.

"We've talked to the county's attorneys, our own sheriff," Windham said. "We feel like if we'll do everything reasonably possibly to keep people safe and do it within the guidelines the governor has set forth, then everything will be okay."

When asked about the flea market, Dobbs and Reeves may not have been aware of the steps Windham planned to take at his venue. It appeared by their reactions this was the first they had heard about the flea market's plans.

Following that came advice to those who plan to go to First Monday.

"Please stay home," Dobbs said.

UPDATE: 

First Monday officials responded to Governor Reeves and Dr. Dobbs Friday evening. 

Their statement reads:

" First Monday Trade Days has operated safely in Tippah County for more than a century and will continue to do so this weekend. The health and safety of our patrons is always our paramount concern. We determined to reopen after the Governor issued his guidelines that also allowed regional shopping malls and other retail outlets across the state to reopen this past week. We are also not aware of any change to the plan to reopen retail businesses statewide. While we recognize that there will always be risk, First Monday is a law-abiding business and, like every other business in the state, will operate according to the law. We will exercise every effort to maintain social distancing with other CDC guidelines and will limit the number of patrons on the property, if necessary, in order to keep the public safe. First Monday has no interest in putting the public at any enhanced risk but does not want to be singled-out as being different from any other retail business. We encourage the pubic to exercise personal responsibility to
help us keep everyone else safe as they do business. First Monday appreciates its vendors and patrons as we continue to work through these challenging times as safely as possible. Thank you. "

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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