Mayor George Flaggs Jr. commended city residents and employees during a news conference Wednesday afternoon for doing a “phenomenal job” responding to COVID-19 .
The mayor encouraged Vicksburg residents to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. He said he will get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available to him, and will not go to the head of the line just because he’s mayor.
“I think the vaccine is an eye-opener,” he said. “I think it’s the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Flaggs said Vicksburg firefighters and police have already been offered the vaccine due to their role as first responders.
Vaccinating residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities is a priority for the state and the nation, and is being managed by CVS and Walgreens pharmacies under national contracts. Although some facilities in Mississippi began the process this week, the mayor indicated it would be late January before Vicksburg and Warren County facilities would receive the first round.
The mayor also addressed the fact that bars and restaurants would not be offering alcoholic midnight toasts on New Year’s Eve. Both state and local restrictions order alcoholic beverages not be sold or served after 11 p.m.
“Celebrate New Year’s as close to home as you possibly can,” he said.
The mayor’s remarks are in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mississippi State Department of Health, which have been advocating curtailing any gatherings with people not in immediate families or households.
If you must have a gathering outside of that guidance, Flaggs said wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is a must.
“It is proven that the masks mitigate the spread of the virus, and it protects you and your loved ones or your friends or your relatives,” he said.
Wednesday, Warren County reported 88 new COVID-19 cases, a one-day record. For the past seven days, the city has averaged more than 40 cases a day.
“How normal we go forward depends on how we respond to this virus going forward,” the mayor said.
The city will be putting a “razor focus” in 2021 on minimizing the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to provide the government services residents rely on.
“Let’s reset,” he said.
“Let’s go into 2021 more determined, more committed than ever to be more self-responsible and be self-determined as it relates to make Vicksburg competitive, to make Vicksburg the Vicksburg we know it can be.”