JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Governor Tate Reeves announced the next phase for Mississippi to begin reopening the state’s economy while continuing to flatten the curve amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The new executive order amends his Safer-at-Home order, which he signed over a week ago and still remains in effect until Monday, May 11. The new guidelines go into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 7 until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 11.
“I don’t want to wait if there are steps that we believe we can safely take now to ease the burden on Mississippians fighting this virus. There are thousands around the state that are set to close their doors for good. They cannot hold on much longer. I hope that this will not only be some much-needed relief for those restaurant employees but also provide for some joy for the people of Mississippi,” said Reeves.
In this latest executive order, the governor laid out strict social distancing guidelines to begin the process of slowly and safely reopening restaurants and allowing outdoor recreation, including:
- Before in-house dining can resume, the entire restaurant and bar must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom.
- All restaurants and bars are expected to take every step necessary to implement the regulations, orders, and guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
- Cloth masks must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that mask throughout their shift.
- All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- No more than 50% seating capacity in both indoor and outdoor dining areas, and floor plans must be updated to ensure at least 6 feet between each group. Party sizes will be limited to no more than 6 people per table.
- Bars and bar areas that do no offer food services are to remain closed.
- Minimizing person-to-person contact through technology, like mobile or online reservations and contact-less payment, is encouraged.
- Customers will be screened upon entry. Restaurants and bars must post signage at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
- Cafeteria-style buffets and food stations that are manned by restaurant staff are allowed with appropriate barriers to limit contact. Self-service buffets, food stations, and drink stations are prohibited.
- All restaurants and bars must place hand sanitizer at all entrances, hostess stations, in/near bathrooms, and at cashier stations.
- Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people for indoor activities and a maximum of 20 people for outside activities.
- Parks can open to the public from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for outdoor recreation under guidance from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and local authorities, with people following social distancing guidelines such as 6 feet separation. Outdoor recreation activities, such as swimming, are also allowed within those same hours.
You can view the signed version of Executive Order No. 1478 here.
Safer At Home FAQs can be found on the Governor’s website here.
Reeves also announced that he would veto the bill the legislature passed that strips him of solely spending CARES Act funds.