Jackson mayor extends city’s Safer-at-Home order until May 15; open carry ban expired

Coronavirus

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The threat of COVID-19 is not going away, so Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is extending the city of Jackson’s stay at home order into May.

Beginning midnight may first through May 15 the City of Jackson will keep it’s stay at home and public social distancing orders in place to flatten the Coronavirus curve. 

“I want to encourage all Jackson residents to continue to stay home,” Mayor Lumumba said. “And limit movements outside of their homes to nothing that is beyond those for essential needs.”

Most under the extension is like the original order, like retail and department stores deemed non-essential remaining closed to indoor service. But may sell merchandise curbside or virtually. 

“The limited purposes of fulfilling telephonic, or online orders through drive-thru, curbside pickup and or delivery services,” Mayor Lumumba continued. “Which are now deemed to be a minimal service operation.”

And any store employees who work these duties must wear proper protection. 

“Follow social distancing requirements, provided in the amended order and must wear a face mask within six feet of another employee or customer,” Mayor Lumumba explained. “The order requires hand sanitizer be on site at any business.”

But for barbershops, hair or beauty salons, and restaurants doors must remain closed to all dine in services. 

“The gauntlet has been laid for us and we’re just trying to survive it,” restaurant owner Louis LaRose told us. “I’ve laid every one of my employees off and told them to all file for unemployment as did my wife and myself. We’ve already been out of work for six weeks so just a hair longer I’ve lost track of the time.”

For years Louis LaRose has been the proud owner of Lou’s Full Serv restaurant in Belhaven. While confident he’ll be back, the question when and the financial setback is uncertain. 

“I applied for and received the payroll protection plan loan, but now with these extended orders I can’t use it to my full potential,” LaRose stated. “Because you have eight weeks to use it accordingly. Well now I’m down to six weeks.”

Also in the extended order, Mayor Lumumba is forbidden malls and non-essential retail outlets to open up to 50% capacity foot traffic even though the Governor issued this exception statewide, but mayors do have the authority to go further if they deem the policies necessary.

One of the recent orders includes a temporary ban on open carry in the city amid the coronavirus outbreak. Lumumba announced the ban has expired.

“We are glad that Mayor Lumumba appears to have realized that he cannot lawfully disarm law-abiding citizens and ‘suspend’ constitutional rights,” said Aaron Rice, the Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute. “Now, more than ever, we must remain vigilant to protect our civil liberties. MJI will always be here to fight for Mississippians when an overbearing government tries to infringe on the freedoms that are the strength of our state and our country.”    

Earlier this week, MJI filed a lawsuit against Lumumba’s order banning open carry.

On Thursday, Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed an amicus curiaeor friend of the court brief, in federal court on Thursday. She said it reaffirms the right to bear arms, supports Mississippi state laws that protect that right and seeks to overturn the open carry ban in Jackson.

Earlier this week, the Jackson City Council unanimously voted to reject the mayor’s executive order on the open carry ban.

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