Tupelo issued order to stop auction after crowd appeared at Furniture Market

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton issued an executive order to shut down an auction Saturday at the Tupelo Furniture Market, an event that attracted a crowd and triggered outrage on social media.

Posted: Mar 21, 2020 3:40 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2020 10:54 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) — Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton issued an executive order to shut down an auction Saturday at the Tupelo Furniture Market, an event that attracted a crowd and triggered outrage on social media.

Among those upset with the event was Ginger McElwee Harbour. She posted a picture on Facebook showing plenty of cars and people standing outside of the market's Building 1.  

Group seen outside one of the buildings at the Tupelo Furniture Market. (Sydney Darden)

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?? Tupelo, please prioritize the health and safety of those around you," she wrote. "Our healthcare providers are already dealing with tremendous burdens due to COVID-19. There is NO excuse for this."

"This is inexcusable," wrote Councilman Lynn Bryan on Facebook. "We've basically closed every restaurant in town along with other harsh measures to control the spread of the virus."

In response to what happened, Tupelo Furniture Market owner V.M. Cleveland issued an apology.

"The Tupelo Furniture Market would like to apologize for the event today," said Cleveland in a written statement. "We take full responsibility for allowing them to have it, and we should have mandated them to cancel it. We have rescheduled several other events. We are very active in Northeast Mississippi’s community, and we made a mistake. We did tell them to close it down before we received Mayor Shelton’s order. We have always supported this community and the city of Tupelo."

Meanwhile, the mayor on Facebook also criticized Governor Tate Reeves for his handling of the coronavirus.

"He has abdicated that leadership role in a state of emergency, and we will wait no longer in Tupelo," wrote the mayor. "Uniform state action is desperately needed because it is not effective to have neighboring cities and adjoining counties with completely separate rules."

WTVA has reached out to the governor's office for a response.

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