Mississippi businesses can reopen Monday – with restrictions, governor says

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All businesses in the state of Mississippi can reopen Monday – provided they follow guidelines for combating the coronavirus, Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday.

“At that time, there will be no more business closures. Everyone will be allowed to operate,” Reeves said at a news briefing, according to the Clarion Ledger of Jackson.

“We cannot have an endless shutdown,” the governor added.

“We cannot have an endless shutdown.”

— Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves

As of early Thursday, the state had recorded nearly 14,000 infections from the virus and 670 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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When the pandemic began, Mississippi had scattered rules for the public and businesses to help contain the spread of the virus but Reeves later issued a statewide stay-at-home order, the Clarion Ledger reported.

Reeves’ new guidance is titled his “Safe Return” order.

The plan calls for businesses to allow 50 people at a time indoors and 100 people at a time outdoors beginning Monday if they practice social distancing. In cases where distancing is not possible, the capacities will be lowered to 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors, the newspaper reported.

While the new order allows businesses to reopen, “This does not mean the threat is gone," Reeves stressed.

“There are no perfect options, but freedom with risk is better than a prolonged shutdown,” he said, adding later, “I trust you. I trust the people of Mississippi.”

Although the number of daily cases in the state has been on the rise, Reeves said this week that the data has been “relatively flat.”

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“We had a prolonged plateau where our cases have been relatively flat. Again, you can go up or down a hundred cases, or two hundred cases over a seven-day period on a rolling seven-day average, but we’ve been relatively flat for 60 days in Mississippi," Reeves said Tuesday, according to WLBT-TV of Jackson.

At the same briefing, state Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs advised residents to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing, noting that Wayne County, near the Alabama line, has seen a “remarkable increase” in new infections.

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