The next steps for Mississippi to continue safely reopening the state's economy and getting people back to work while protecting public health were announced Friday by Gov. Tate Reeves as the number of coronavirus increased in Neshoba County

In a new executive order, Governor Reeves has extended his Safer At Home order and accompanying amendments for another week until 8:00 AM on Monday, June 1 to continue flattening the curve while allowing Mississippians to safely get back to work and move around their communities.

Executive Order No. 1488 also adds Holmes County to the list of hotspot counties under additional social distancing measures to help slow the spread within their communities.

Reeves added that he and the COVID-19 Task Force are continuing to treat at each region of the state as its own area. To that end, he said he was extending the enhanced social distancing guidelines and protections for citizens in eight counties - Lauderdale, Leake, Neshoba, Scott, Holmes, Attala and Jasper.

Neshoba County has added 72 cases since Sunday, bringing the total to 477 since March 11 and representing a 21 percent increase. Neshoba County has had a total of 27 deaths. Sixty-our of the cases have been in long-term care facilities with 15 of the deaths there.

The state has not released a county-by-county breakdown, but the Department of Health estimates that 7,681 of Mississippi’s 12,624 COVID-19 patients have recovered.

The state reported 402 new cases today for a total of 12,624. There were 16 new deaths for a total of 596.

Neshoba County's special orders will be extended another week.

Responding to a staggering number of new unemployment insurance claims, which have averaged more than 36,000 per week since the first shelter-in-place order went into affect on March 1, the state began the process of allowing businesses initially considered “unessential” to reopen 16 days ago on May 4.

Since that time, Mississippi has seen a 75-percent increase in confirmed cases - from 7,212 cases on May 4 to 12,624 on May 22. Some of that increase can be attributed to an increase in testing capacity, which has grown exponentially over the same time period. State Health Department data show nearly 58,000 Mississippians have been tested in the last two weeks.

Reeves implored citizens to continue the effort to slow the spread of the virus, encouraging everyone to go the extra mile to preserve the safety of themselves, their families and their neighbors.

“I hope the people of this great state will continue to take this serious,” Reeves said. “We must stay vigilant. We are headed into a holiday weekend, and I know you are used to gathering in large groups to celebrate Memorial Day. My plea to all Mississippians is this: please, if you choose to get together, do so in smaller groups and try to stay six feet apart. Remember to sanitize and wear a mask if at all possible.”

Here are the highlights of the new orders:

OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

For businesses/facilities:

  • Before they can reopen, the entire outdoor park must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom, including areas not open to the public.
  • All outdoor parks 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.
  • Waiting areas and lines must mark spots at least 6 feet apart to ensure social distancing. Employees must be stationed there to make sure social distancing is followed.
  • No more than 50% of the outdoor park's capacity.
  • Outdoor parks must post signage at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
  • Equipment must be rearranged and/or deactivated to ensure at least 6 feet between customers.
  • All high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.
  • Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances.
  • Food services are allowed, following restaurant guidelines under Executive Order No. 1478.
For employees:
  • 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.
  • All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Face coverings must be provided to all employees. Employees are required to wear that face covering throughout their shift and clean or replace daily.
For customers:
  • Customers must be screened upon entry into the outdoor park.
  • Customers must sanitize their hands upon entry and when moving between rides or equipment.
SCHOOLS & SPORTS COMPLEXES
  • Schools may open weight rooms and training facilities for use by students, following gym guidelines under Executive Order No. 1480.
  • Team practices at outdoor sports complexes and multi-field complexes and schools' outdoor practices are allowed to resume, following outdoor recreational activities guidelines under Executive Order No. 1478.
You can view the text versions of the executive orders here: Executive Order No. 1487Executive Order No. 1488.