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Report: Mississippi identified as ‘red zone’ for COVID-19

(KWCH)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:39 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - The latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force shows the majority of Mississippi counties branded as red zones. And Mississippi is one of 21 states with the same title.

This White House Coronavirus Task Force report first obtained by the New York Times recommends Mississippi move dining outdoors or limiting indoor capacity at restaurants to 25 percent. Current state regulations allow for 50 percent capacity.

Manship Wood Fired Kitchen managing partner Steven O’Neill says he doesn’t think 25 percent capacity is feasible for most restaurants to stay open.

“With six foot table distancing, I can’t even achieve over 35 percent. Right now, we are at about 35 percent capacity. But everyone in this restaurant is distanced six feet, not nose to nose. It is six feet between tables, back of head to back of head,” said O’Neill.

O’Neill says they’re spending more on safety measures, $1,000 extra each week on gloves alone.

“We’re adapting daily now that our payroll protection has run out. We don’t know if there’s going to be another round or not. We’re just trying to make our business viable,” ‘Neill said.

This list also says the state should close establishments where social distancing and mask use can’t occur like bars and entertainment venues. But the suggestion for the 71 ‘red zone’ counties is to shut down gyms. One gym-goer I spoke with says he feels safe.

“They wipe down everything. We wipe down everything before and after use every time we use anything and they’ve got everything six feet apart,” said _____

We asked folks if they think the state is doing enough to keep us safe.

“No I don’t. I think we opened up way too early. I think we went back too early. I noticed a lot of people aren’t social distancing in stores.”

“They can try closing down some businesses but the impact of that, I think would be greater than the COVID.”

Hinds, DeSoto and Jackson counties represented just over 20 percent of the new cases in the state in the time frame this report considered, July 18-24.

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