On Tuesday, March 31, Gov. Tate Reeves signed a new executive order establishing a shelter-in-place order for Lauderdale County to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of all Mississippians.
As of Monday, March 30, at 6 p.m., the county reported 35 cases and no deaths from the virus, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health website. Lauderdale County is located in east Central Mississippi and its county seat is Meridian.
MSDH identified Lauderdale County as the first localized region for additional restrictions, and Reeves announced the shelter-in-place order for the county at a press conference this morning. This follows the “identify and isolate” strategy that the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, laid out at a press conference last week.
Mississippi is rapidly increasing testing and strictly enforcing quarantines for anyone that investigators believe has been exposed to the virus. Two-week shelter-in-place orders are a tool to allow health officials to flex resources to areas that carry special risk. The shelter-in-place will begin at 10 p.m. and be in effect through April 14, 2020.
You can view the full press conference here.
“This is the first of many actions that will come as a result of our ‘identify and isolate’ strategy to protect Mississippi’s health-care system from being overwhelmed,” Reeves said. “Keeping Mississippians healthy and safe while working to slow the spread remains our top priority. This order builds on the state’s other social distancing requirements to protect public health. Please stay home so we can all stay healthy.”
In this latest executive order, the Governor lays out the guidelines of the shelter-in-place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Lauderdale County, including:
- Individuals are to stay at home except for the limited allowances in the executive order.
- When outside of their homes, people must follow social distancing guidelines by maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and avoid groups of 10 or more.
- Evictions are suspended, though people are still required to pay any rent or make any mortgage payments.
All nonessential businesses are to stop all activities other than those necessary for minimum operations (e.g. payroll, health insurance, security) and enabling employees to work from home.
- Social and other non-essential gatherings in groups of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled.
- Restaurants and bars may only remain open for drive-thru, curbside, and/or delivery service.
- People may leave their homes only to perform essential activities, such as caring for someone in the vulnerable population, getting food or necessary supplies, and working for an essential business.
- Individual outdoor recreation is encouraged, but not group recreation or activities such as soccer or basketball games.
The executive order is below.