Additional social distancing guidelines announced for ‘hotspot’ counties
Image courtesy of the office of Governor Tate Reeves

While Mississippi continues to take steps toward reopening its economy, several counties have emerged as ‘hotspots’ with the virus continuing to spread at a higher rate. In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in these communities, Governor Tate Reeves has announced additional social distancing guidelines for seven counties. 

Consulting with State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and other officials, the following counties were identified as localized regions at a higher risk for transmission: Attala, Leake, Scott, Jasper, Neshoba, Newton, and Lauderdale Counties.

The executive order signed by Governor Reeves expands requirements for the use of masks for businesses, their employees and customers. Additional screening and sanitation measures must also be taken.

“I hope that these rules will have an impact, but I also hope that they will serve as a signal to people in these counties. We cannot always see and feel the consequences, but the disease is more active there. You need to be even more aware—stay even more sharp,” said Governor Tate Reeves.

The Governor discussed these new guidelines during today’s press briefing.

A complete list of the requirements can be viewed below. 

For all businesses:

  • All businesses 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, including social distancing and encouraging sick employees to stay home.
  • 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.
  • Based on their duties and responsibilities, employees who are unable to maintain at least 6 feet distance from others must wear a face covering throughout their shift, such as a face mask. Their face coverings must be cleaned or replaced daily.
  • Hand sanitizer must be provided to all employees, which can include a hand rub or soap.

For retail businesses (in addition to measures above):

  • Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that face covering throughout their shift and clean or replace daily.
  • All customers must wear a face covering while inside the retail business.
  • Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances, in or near bathrooms, and at cashier stations.
  • Retail businesses are expected to make all efforts to maintain a 6-foot distance between customers at all times.
  • Carts, baskets, and other similar surfaces touched by customers must be sanitized after each use. Other high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.

For people out in public:

  • Everyone must wear face coverings when attending outdoor public events, such as live auctions or flea markets.
  • People must maintain a 6-foot distance between themselves and others.

The guidelines created in this order do not rollback any of the openings allowed by Governor Reeves’ order which was announced last Friday. The order allowed salons, barbershops and gyms to reopen under strict health guidelines.