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COVID-19 UPDATE | Speaker Gunn | March 25, 2020



News from Speaker Philip Gunn:

As you may know, the Governor entered a lengthy executive order yesterday. It is five pages long, so I will attempt to summarize it for you.


First, let me tell you what the executive order DOES NOT do:

• It DOES NOT include any “shelter in place” or “home confinement.” • It DOES NOT include any statewide (or other) “lock down.” • It DOES NOT prevent any business from operating. It simply requires nonessential businesses and other persons to not have more than 10 people gathered in close proximity. The categories of “Essential Business or Operations” are broad and are listed below. However, every business must implement reasonable social distancing measures and send sick employees home.


Now I will tell you what the order DOES do:

• Until April 17, 2020, Mississippi residents shall avoid gatherings of more than 10 people in a single space in close proximity to each other. This does not apply to normal operations of airports, health care facilities, retail and grocery stores, manufacturing facilities or any other “Essential Business or Operation.” • Until April 17, 2020, restaurants and bars shall suspend dine-in service unless they can serve less than 10 people in a single space in close proximity. Use of drive through and carryout service is encouraged. • Until April 17, 2020, there is a prohibition against visits to hospitals, nursing and retirement homes unless it is needed to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life situations. Even those types of visits are prohibited if they are not safe as determined by the facility’s supervising health care professional. Electronic visits (Skype, Face-time, etc.) are encouraged. • Recommends that, to the maximum extent feasible, businesses and non-profits utilize work-from-home or telework rather than in-person work. • Essential Businesses or Operations include: – Government functions including public safety, law enforcement, emergency management, courts, etc. – Health care operations – Infrastructure, including utilities, fuel, telecommunications, suppliers and distributors, cybersecurity operations, transportation facilities, mass transit, vehicle rental, taxis and ride sharing (Uber/Lyft), rail, water systems, waste disposal, hotels and lodging, etc. – Manufacturing – Agriculture – Retail including supermarkets, food and beverage stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, hardware/building materials stores, gas stations, restaurants and bars (subject to prior limitations of the order) – Trash collection, mail/shipping, home repair, auto repair and sales, laundry services – Communications media – Educators for purposes of facilitating distance learning or delivery of free/reduced meals – Financial services – Professional services including legal, accounting, insurance and real estate (including appraisal and title) – Providers of basic necessities to the poor – Construction and construction related services – Safety, sanitation, fire prevention, security services – Defense Industrial Base services supporting the military – Vendors providing essential services, such as logistics and tech support – Religious entities, provided they adhere to CDC and Department of Health (DOH) guidelines – IT workers identified by Dept. of Homeland Security as Essential – Other categories determined essential by MDOH, MEMA and/or any other appropriate state agency. • “Essential Businesses or Operations” are not subject to the 10-person limit nor any other limit other than what is in the Executive Order. • The Order explicitly suspends any municipal ordinance that is inconsistent with the Order insofar as Essential Businesses or Operations are concerned. • Essential Businesses are required to take all reasonable measures to comply with CDC and MDOH guidelines, such as social distancing and sending sick employees home or requiring them to stay home.

HOW the Order will be enforced: Pursuant to Miss. Code Section 33-15-1 et seq., state and local emergency management officials can arrest violators who will be subject to up to a $500 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment.


Update on New Cases:

There were 57 new cases reported yesterday. Total cases statewide now number 377. Unfortunately, a second death was reported from Holmes County. Three new counties reported cases yesterday – Amite, Calhoun, Prentiss.


Call if you need help.

We have had phone calls to our office forwarded to our staff. If you need any help at all, please call us at 601-359-3300. We have also set up an email address for you to ask questions or seek help. That address is covid19questions@house.ms.gov.

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