Mississippi - COVID-19 Covered

Mississippi

Total Cases: 16,560 (June 5)
Tests Administered: 184,985 (June 4)
Fatalities: 794 (June 5)
Testing:
  • Physicians and researchers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center will conduct several clinical trials on potential treatment options for people infected with COVID-19. (April 15)
  • On March 26, The University of Mississippi Medical Center began performing in-house COVID-19 testing. (March 27)
  • The Mississippi State Department of Health Public Laboratory is testing samples submitted by Mississippi physicians and health care providers. (March 20)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Reeves signed an executive order restricting all non-essential elective surgeries and medical procedures. (April 10)
  • Governor Reeves issued an executive order overriding local officials and classifying a number of businesses as essential, including firearm retailers, department stores, home-repair services, Uber, and Lyft. (March 26)
  • An executive order signed by Governor Reeves identifies the following sectors as essential: public safety, first responders, law enforcement, health care, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and farms, retail including supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations, waste management, mail services, media, educational services, financial services, legal services, construction, defense, IT, child care, and religious entities. (March 24)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Reeves signed an Executive Order creating additional protections from civil liability for healthcare workers and facilities assisting outside their normal operations in response to COVID-19. (April 10)
  • Governor Reeves announced that the state is waiving the in-person requirement for notarizing documents in Mississippi during the COVID-19 emergency. (April 7)
  • Governor Reeves signed an executive order suspending dine-in services at restaurants, bars, and other dining establishments until April 17, and directs businesses to allow employees to work from home. (March 24)
  • All Mississippi casinos have been closed until further notice. (March 16)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Reeves announced that he is lifting a suspension on evictions on June 1. (May 13)
  • Governor Reeves signed an executive order (replacing his initial unemployment order) waiving the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits for all claims filed from March 8, 2020, to December 26, 2020, and increasing the $40 earning allowance to $200 from May 3, 2020, until June 27, 2020. (May 11)
  • Governor Reeves announced the state legislators will have a role in deciding how to spend the $1.25 billion in federal funding the state is receiving. (May 7)
  • The state Department of Revenue delayed individual, corporate, franchise, and fiduciary income tax returns until July 15. (May 6)
  • Governor Reeves said the state will hire a third party to help make sure that COVID-19 relief funding provided from the CARES Act will be distributed fairly. (April 28)
  • Mississippi’s Attorney General announced plans for the state to sue the Chinese Government over its response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying “too many Mississippians have suffered as a result of China’s cover-up.” (April 22)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is available for anyone not covered for regular unemployment benefits, including individuals who are “self-employed, independent contractors, employees of a church or religious entity, employees of non-profit organizations or gig economy workers.” (April 21)
  • President Trump approved Governor Reeves’ major disaster declaration request, activating additional federal assistance throughout Mississippi. (April 6)
  • Governor Reeves signed an executive order instructing the Mississippi Department of Employment Security to expedite payments to unemployed workers and to relax collection requirements on employers. (March 22)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Reeves announced he will sign a bill to create a $300 million grant program for small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. (May 20)
  • Governor Reeves signed an executive order waiving any interest on all collection activities suspended during COVID-19 for employers from April 1, 2020, to June 27, 2020. (May 11)
  • State officials announced plans to allocate an initial $100 million to Mississippi small businesses affected by COVID-19. (May 7)
  • Governor Reeves said he supports lawsuits providing legal protection for businesses if they get sued if they reopen and customers or employees contract COVID-19. (April 29)
  • The US Small Business Administration has approved Governor Reeve’s request for an Economic Disaster Declaration in Mississippi. All Mississippi businesses and nonprofits are now eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million to overcome the temporary loss of income due to COVID-19. (March 18)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • Governor Reeves announced Mississippi driver’s license offices will reopen Monday, June 8. (June 3)
  • All Mississippi businesses are allowed to reopen following strict social distance and sanitation guidelines. (June 1)
  • Social gathering with social distancing of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors is permitted. (June 1)
  • Governor Reeves extended his Safer at Home order to June 1, to be replaced by a “Safe Return” order. (May 27)
  • Governor Reeves lightened restrictions on outdoor sports and leisure venues, such as water parks, playgrounds and racetracks; additionally, sports teams to hold outdoor practices, and schools can open their gyms and weight rooms with extra sanitation. (May 22)
  • Governor Reeves announced in-person worship can begin so long as worshipers follow social distancing guidelines. (May 19)
  • Mississippi’s gaming industry is set to reopen on Thursday, May 21. (May 16)
  • Governor Reeves announced salons, barbershops and gyms would reopen and abide by specific virus safety guidelines on Monday, May 11. (May 8)
  • Stage 2 of the governor’s plan to reopen Mississippi took effect, including outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people, indoor gatherings of up to 10 people, restaurants dine-in service with social distancing guidelines, and opening parks to the public with limited hours. (May 7)

Curfews:

  • No state-wide records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor Reeves signed an executive order issuing additional social distancing measures for seven counties identified as hotspots – Attala, Leake, Scott, Jasper, Neshoba, Newton, and Lauderdale.
    • The measures include daily screenings of employees, face coverings for employees who are in close proximity to customers, and making hand sanitizer available at several locations throughout one’s business, among others. (May 12)

Delivery Services:

  • Governor Reeves’ order to suspend dine-in service restaurants and bars allows for delivery and carry-out service. (March 24)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Schools are permitted to reopen for summer programs provided they follow strict social distance and sanitation guidelines. (June 1)
  • Governor Reeves closed schools for the rest of the school year. (April 14)

State Higher Education:

  • Several Mississippi colleges have held virtual commencement ceremonies for graduates. (May 4)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com