Governor’s Executive Order allows restaurants and parks to reopen

A new executive order signed by Governor Tate Reeves will amend Mississippi’s current ‘safer-at-home’ order to allow for restaurants and parks across the state to reopen under specific health guidelines.

“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 Governor Tate Reeves.

A breakdown of the order from the Governor’s office can be read below. 

RESTAURANTS:

  • 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.

OUTDOOR RECREATION:

  • 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 9:00AM – 7:00PM 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.

The new guidelines go into effect at 8:00 AM on Thursday, May 7 until 8:00 AM on Monday, May 11, which is when the ‘safer-at-home’ order ends as well.

During his daily press briefing, the Governor stated that salons and barbershops must continue to remain closed, but he explained that he will continue to work with state health officials to develop a plan to safely reopen them. 

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs explained that, despite these steps forward, you must continue to be smart. He urged you to wear a mask in public, continue to practice social distancing and proper handwashing hygiene.