What you need to know as ‘safer-at-home’ order takes effect

This morning at 8 a.m., the newly issued ‘safer-at-home’ order will take the place of the expiring ‘shelter-in-place’ order in Mississippi. 

The order, which eases restrictions on certain businesses, was announced by Governor Tate Reeves on Friday. Despite the step forward, Mississippians are still encouraged to stay at home when possible, and the businesses that are reopening must do so under strict health guidelines.

Retailers that open their doors must take preventative action to ensure that they remain at 50% capacity to allow for social distancing. 

Healthcare facilities in Mississippi will be allowed to resume “elective procedures”.

Businesses are being asked to follow CDC guidelines that call for the use of masks, social distancing and keeping sick employees at home.

Businesses that will not be able to reopen at this time include “places of amusement” like movie theaters, bars and museums. Also, the Governor explained that salons, gyms, spas and barbershops will remain closed due to the difficult nature of enforcing social distancing guidelines in these industries. Mississippi casinos will also remain closed for the time being. 

Dine-in services at Mississippi restaurants will remain suspended, but drive-thru, curbside and delivery options will continue. 

Social gatherings of 10 or more people continue to be prohibited. 

The order does mandate that those in high-risk categories, such as the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system, should continue to shelter-in-place. 

The order will remain in effect until Monday, May, 11.

A complete breakdown of the Executive Order was provided by Governor Reeves’ office and can be seen below.

  • Mississippians are encouraged to stay at home unless they need to leave for essential activities or essential travel, such as caring for someone in the vulnerable population, getting food or necessary supplies, and going to work.
  • All those in the vulnerable population are instructed to continue sheltering in place to protect their health.
    • This includes all elderly individuals (age 65 or older per CDC guidelines) and individuals with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised as such by chemotherapy for cancer or any other condition requiring such therapy.
  • When outside of their homes, people must follow social distancing guidelines by maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and avoid groups of 10 or more.
  • Social and other non-essential gatherings in groups of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Evictions are suspended, though people are still required to pay any rent or make any mortgage payments.
  • Certain businesses previously closed under the shelter-in-place are allowed to reopen, while following health and safety mandates recommended by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH).
  • Places of amusement or entertainment, like movie theaters and museums, and businesses that cannot avoid sustained person-to-person contact, like salons or gyms, will remain closed, other than curbside pick-up, drive-thru, or delivery for retails sale of their products but not services.
  • All businesses and non-profit organizations are encouraged to continue allowing their employees to work from home or telework to all extent possible.
  • Restaurants and bars may only remain open for drive-thru, curbside pick-up, and/or delivery service.
  • Retail businesses are to implement reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including limiting the number of customers in their stores at one time to no greater than 50% of their store capacity and making hand sanitizer available to customers upon entry.
  • Healthcare professionals and facilities may resume performing elective medical and dental procedures and surgeries as allowed and approved by MSDH. Such non-emergent procedures and surgeries should limit their use of disposable PPE and not request PPE from any public source.

The full Executive Order can be read, here.