Mississippi is in the middle of a two-week “shelter-in-place” order issued by Gov. Tate Reeves last week due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The “shelter-in-place” order became effective on April 3, 2020, at 5 p.m. and will run until April 20, 2020, at 8 a.m.
As of April 9, 2020, there were 2,260 COVID-19 cases and 76 COVID-19 related deaths reported in Mississippi. More than 20,000 Mississippians have been tested for COVID-19.
Reeves issued the “shelter-in-place” order at the advice of state medical advisors. The order’s purpose is to slow the spread of COVID-19 while giving Mississippi’s healthcare providers the ability to keep up with critical patients and ensuring patients have the best care possible. The “shelter-in-place” order requires all Mississippians stay at home unless they are going to get an essential need or perform essential work.
“We appreciate Gov. Reeves taking measures to protect Mississippi’s citizens, including our farmers and ranchers,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick said. “Our farmers and ranchers are taking as many precautious as possible to protect themselves and their families while still providing our state with the food, fiber and shelter they need.”
In several press conferences since issuing the “shelter-in-place,” Reeves has heavily addressed two issues – whether churches should gather in person and when public schools would reconvene. Reeves believes the state cannot require churches to stop meeting, but has asked they not meet in person during this time to help stop the spread of COVID-19. An announcement will be made about the status of Mississippi’s public schools on April 13, 2020. Currently, all public schools have been shut down until April 17, 2020; however, the United States government is pushing citizens to practice social distancing until the end of April.
At the beginning of Mississippi’s COVID-19 response, the Mississippi Legislature agreed adjourn on March 18, 2020 and return on April 1, 2020, but after Reeves issued the “shelter-in-place” order, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Speaker Philip Gunn decided it was not appropriate to reconvene. The legislature will meet again when the Hosemann and Gunn agree on a time.
“The biggest issue we foresee for the legislature is the budget,” McCormick said. “With the state’s economy almost coming to a halt, the budget will look different than it did only a couple of months ago.”
While Mississippians are at home or working in an essential business, Hosemann has asked churches and all Mississippians to ring a bell or make a joyful noise every day at 6 p.m. during the “shelter-in-place” order to support healthcare professionals on the front line. Gunn has also been giving daily Facebook Live updates that can be found here.
More information about Mississippi’s COVID-19 statistics can be found on the Mississippi Department of Health’s website. More information about Mississippi’s “shelter-in-place” order can be found in the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s COVID-19 Resource Document.