Hattiesburg, Mississippi – To further slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Hattiesburg metro-area and with provisions from Governor Tate Reeves latest safer-at-home order, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker is leaning on more stringent regulations for non-essential retail beginning Monday, April 27. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, they can operate by drive-thru, pickup sales, curbside delivery or by appointment only – with no more than 10 customers in the building at a time.
“Governor Reeves has to take steps and set policies that are applicable to the entire state as a baseline. But his order also continues to give municipalities the ability to make more stringent decisions that work for the best interest of each community,” said Barker. “The data for our area simply doesn’t show we’re at a place where we’re comfortable with retailers allowing for half-capacity. For now, we’re deferring to Executive Order 2020-3 (issued March 17) which still allows for our non-essential retail businesses to creatively operate while we take the time needed to listen to our medical community, look at our own local data and hear from stakeholders so that we can chart the best path forward for our community.”
On Friday, April 24, Governor Tate Reeves issued Executive Order 1477 – a safer-at-home order – to continue Mississippi’s response to COVID-19. This order allows for two changes – health care facilities can begin elective procedures and non-essential retail can open, but with some in-store capacity. Everything else stays the same.
In addition to the city’s local medical experts and the Community Working Group announced earlier this week, Barkers’s administrative team is also looking at the regional gating criteria from the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force. This criteria looks at symptoms, cases and hospital capacity and only allows for entry into Phase 1 with a consistent downward trajectory over a 14-day period.
“At this time our data doesn’t prove we’re where we need to be. While our data did show a downward trend for several days, we also experienced an upward turn this week,” said Barker. “We will continue to use data specifically for the Hattiesburg Metro Area and make decisions with the best interest of our city in mind.”
Beginning Monday, April 27 at 8 a.m., non-essential retail can operate by drive-thru, pickup, curbside or by appointment only. All employees must wear masks, and health care organizations can begin elective procedures with guidance from the CDC and the State Department of Health. This is per both the latest executive order from Reeves and Barker’s Executive Order 2020-3.