Restrictions placed on bars statewide, six counties added to mask mandate

After hinting at the idea Thursday, Governor Tate Reeves has announced restrictions on bars across the state as COVID-19 cases rise among Mississippi’s younger population.

An amended version of the statewide ‘Safe Return’ order now places the following limits on bars:

  • Bars can only sell alcohol to seated customers (No crowding at the bar counter)
  • No alcohol can be sold at restaurants after 11:00 p.m. until 7 a.m.
  • Previous measures, such as limiting to 50% capacity, updating floor plans to ensure 6 feet distance between groups, and limiting to 6 people per table, remain in effect.

“We are still in the middle of our most painful period of COVID-19 spread to date. We have to slow the spread to prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed,” Governor Reeves said in the announcement. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of spread in young people. By far, the group driving these high numbers is people in their 20’s. I’ve been talking for about a week about wanting to do something to curb the spread among young, drunk, careless folks.”

The governor and state health officials have been discussing these restrictions following last week’s visit from Dr. Deborah Birx, the Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

In addition to the limitations on bars, the limit on indoor social gatherings has been reduced to 10 and outdoor gatherings are now limited to 20.

The restrictions on social gatherings are similar to those included in the order that places hotspot counties under mask mandates and additional social distancing guidelines.

29 Mississippi counties are now included in that order following today’s addition of Calhoun, Holmes, Lamar, Montgomery, Winston, and Yalobusha Counties. 

The counties previously placed under the order include Bolivar, Covington, Forrest, Humphreys, Panola, Sharkey, Simpson, Tallahatchie, Tate, Walthall, Claiborne, DeSoto, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Quitman, Rankin, Sunflower, Washington, and Wayne Counites. 

These orders remain in effect until at least August 3rd.

The governor also signed another executive order to suspend work search requirements until August 8 and other unemployment benefits listed in the executive order until September 26.

The Governor made these announcements during today’s ongoing press briefing, which can be viewed below: