Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Wednesday, July 29, Mayor Toby Barker issued new limitations for restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and dance halls through Executive Order 2020-14 in hopes to alleviate the spike of COVID-19 cases throughout Forrest and Lamar Counties.
“From the beginning, we’ve stated that our three goals in response to COVID-19 are to protect our vulnerable, prevent the overrun of our health care system and prioritize public health while giving our private sector the room to operate creatively,” said Barker. “Right now, goals one and two are not being met – and we have a small window to make decisions that can change that trajectory for the better.”
Barker stated in his daily briefing for Wednesday that both hospitals are operating by their surge plans for ICU space. Currently, both have 90 hospitalized and 39 in the ICU. Additionally, the Forrest and Lamar County metro area has seen an increase in 772 new positive cases in the past 14 days.
The new order will go into effect on Friday, July 31 and expire on Friday, August 17. It includes:
- Bars, nightclubs, music venues and indoor entertainment venues must close by 10 p.m.
- Restaurants must cease dine-in service (indoor and outdoor) at 10 p.m.
- Dance hall permits are suspended.
- Businesses must continue compliance with masks, distancing, capacity limits and other requirements from previous orders.
Barker concluded, “We have a limited amount of time to change the course. A functional normal is possible, but we must make good, collective decisions over the next two-plus weeks to see it happen.”
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-14 (link will be available when it’s uploaded)