HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Mississippians are entering the first full week of the statewide shelter-in-place order from Governor Tate Reeves. People in the state are getting adjusted to a new normal.
Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker explained,”This does close non-essential businesses except for minimum operations. It does close the rest of our non-essential retail, which means, you know, fewer people going out. We’ve tried to let those folks operate creatively, either curbside or by appointment, but those are now closed.”
Since being chosen as the mayor of Hattiesburg, Barker has been pushing to make Hattiesburg one of the premier cities in the gulf south again. He said the coronavirus pandemic is going to take a toll on the city economically.
“This is going to hurt, and it’s going to hurt for some time. And it’s going to hurt at all levels. Our small businesses, our economy collectively. The thing that we worry most about are the individuals who now have no livelihood. And that, that weighs heavily on me, and I think it weighs heavily on a lot of people.”
Mayor Barker advises citizens to stay indoors.
“I don’t want folks to live in fear, but I do want folks to make really good decisions, knowing what the consequences could be if they don’t. And so I hope that the public will be understanding and choose to view this as it should be viewed. There is no ‘Yes, but’ on this,”Barker stated. “Just, be good people and do the right thing. And as the city goes forward, we’re going to continue to evaluate. What else can we do? What else can we do to communicate with stores and grocery stores and pharmacies and restaurants, to promote the ideas of social distancing to try to limit human contact?”
The mayor said he hopes the order will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Hattiesburg.