JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson Chokwe A. Lumumba issued a statement concerning increased enforcement of the “Stay Safe Jackson” Executive Order prohibiting outside gatherings larger than 50 people.

It is distressing to see people in our community gathering in ways that dramatically increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others – especially as our city is already hard hit by the virus. We must look out for our elders, and for our vulnerable family members and neighbors of all ages. We must act with caution and care because unfortunately, our actions will help us save lives or cause others to lose lives. 

The event on Dixon Road was an unlawful one. It did not receive a permit from the City. It was in violation of the City and State’s 20/50 rule – that is a limit on inside gatherings to no more than 20 people and a limit on outside gatherings to no more than 50 people. Our focus is peaceful intervention and disbursement of high-risk gatherings, as well as continued public education to encourage residents to abide by the restrictions. 

We are committed to protecting the safety of our residents by any means necessary. 

I’m asking every resident to do their part by abiding by the 20/50 gathering restrictions, wearing a mask in public, maintaining a safe distance to help prevent the spread of the virus, and please call JPD when you see gatherings that are in violation of the rule. Jackson, we will only beat this virus by working together.

Chokwe A. Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson

The block party happened Monday night, with hundreds of people attending. Jackson City Councilman Charles Tilman said they need to think about more than themselves.

“Young people this day and age really need to think about their actions. We want young people to be young people, but young people need to understand that there are grave issues that affect them, their community, their parents and others around them. They should be very careful now that we’re dealing with COVID-19,” he stated.

In Mississippi, 18 to 29-year-olds account for more than 19,000 cases of the virus in Mississippi. Tillman said it’s time to be socially responsible.

“Who knows how many people could have contracted the virus from this gathering. So at this point and time in Jackson, Mississippi, let’s be real careful when it comes to our social behavior.”

Jackson police said they’re trying to be proactive about regulating social distancing guidelines in the city.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has discouraged large gatherings and was not happy when he heard about this block party.

“I hope it doesn’t come to really undermine us in our long term progress, but I’m disappointed,” Dobbs stated.