Gov. Tate Reeves extended the state’s safer at home order that had been set to expire Monday until June 1 and announced that spaces of outdoor recreation or amusement could reopen under some restrictions.
“We know that our safer at home order is set to expire Monday at 8 a.m., therefore we have to take additional action today or let it expire,” Reeves said Friday. “We know that the virus is still in our communities. We know that we still have challenges.”
Establishments affected include playgrounds, racetracks, waterparks, amusement parks, public parks and other places of amusement or entertainment, Reeves said.
“Over the past two weeks we have steadily opened up more and more of our economy, that is good — it is the right thing to do,” he said. “There is no such thing as a non-essential business to those people who rely on its paycheck for food and for the roof above their head.”
Those places must deep-clean before reopening, sanitize surfaces, display signs encouraging social distancing at entrances or anywhere patrons may form a line and monitor patrons adherence to those rules.
Parks are limited to 50% capacity and all equipment must be rearranged or deactivated to ensure distance between visitors and all frequently touched surfaces must be sanitized once every two hours.
All employees must be screened at the beginning of their shift, trained on how best to limit spread of coronavirus and wear face masks.
Visitors will be screened upon entry and must sanitize their hands when moving between attractions or equipment.
Schools statewide are allowed to open weight rooms and other training facilities but administrators are required to follow the same guidelines as commercials gyms. And team practices at outdoor athletic complexes are allowed to resume.
“My hope and my expectation is that by June 1, we will be able to allow that to expire,” Reeves said.
Despite the piecemeal reopening of the economy, Reeves extended restrictions on seven hard-hit central Mississippi counties after continued case activity there. The extension adds Holmes County to the list of areas with enhanced restrictions.
“Working with Dr. Dobbs and his team, we have decided to extend those stricter guidelines to the seven counties we identified last week,” he said. “The threat is not gone — we must stay vigilant.”
Reeves said the Memorial Day weekend would cause issues if people do not observe social distancing guidelines.
“Please, if you get together, do so in smaller groups,” he said. “Please remember to stay six feet apart, wash your hands, sanitize and wear a mask if at all possible.”
It’s unlikely a vaccine will be developed before another wave of illness impacts Mississippi, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.
“There’s not going to be a vaccine come fall,” Dobbs said. “We’re not going to have that before a potential second wave.”