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.

Confirmed Cases: 59881

Reported Deaths: 1693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5176106
DeSoto321527
Madison227253
Rankin211128
Harrison206732
Jackson187434
Jones174057
Forrest161551
Washington145732
Lauderdale132188
Lee119430
Neshoba119087
Lamar110512
Oktibbeha104434
Warren96425
Lowndes95830
Scott95117
Bolivar93332
Copiah90323
Sunflower90322
Panola89611
Lafayette8619
Holmes83546
Leflore82759
Pike81932
Grenada80520
Yazoo76411
Leake76225
Lincoln73539
Wayne73121
Pontotoc7167
Simpson70726
Monroe68750
Coahoma64810
Tate63822
Marion59418
Adams57825
Covington57611
Winston56615
Marshall5568
George5395
Newton51411
Union51313
Attala49524
Pearl River48036
Tallahatchie44610
Walthall43918
Chickasaw42719
Noxubee41410
Claiborne39913
Smith37413
Calhoun3738
Jasper3738
Clay36414
Alcorn3494
Prentiss3316
Hancock32414
Yalobusha31210
Lawrence3075
Itawamba30610
Tishomingo3063
Clarke29725
Tippah29412
Montgomery2913
Humphreys26511
Tunica2526
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Kemper22315
Quitman2201
Perry2137
Amite2045
Jefferson Davis1966
Webster19512
Jefferson1916
Wilkinson18312
Sharkey1801
Stone1463
Choctaw1254
Benton1240
Franklin1112
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 85278

Reported Deaths: 1531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11465225
Mobile8466188
Montgomery6093141
Madison481725
Tuscaloosa385161
Baldwin309521
Shelby295431
Marshall287830
Unassigned256950
Lee245540
Morgan215614
Etowah188424
DeKalb165011
Elmore156237
Walker145063
Calhoun14389
Houston127512
Dallas126523
Russell11851
St. Clair116911
Franklin116520
Limestone115512
Cullman109011
Colbert105011
Lauderdale102812
Autauga98820
Escambia95215
Talladega86213
Chambers80738
Tallapoosa80178
Jackson7833
Dale76318
Butler74335
Blount7043
Coffee6955
Covington68420
Chilton6735
Pike6447
Barbour5545
Lowndes54524
Marion52824
Marengo50614
Clarke4799
Hale44825
Bullock43611
Winston42610
Perry4193
Wilcox4009
Randolph38610
Monroe3853
Conecuh36310
Sumter36118
Bibb3602
Pickens3599
Macon30412
Washington30411
Lawrence2980
Crenshaw2793
Choctaw27112
Greene23911
Henry2383
Cherokee2227
Geneva2160
Clay2005
Lamar1912
Fayette1675
Cleburne1121
Coosa892
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