Gov. Reeves coronavirus press conference

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 2:05 PM CDT
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Gov. Tate Reeves announced his Safer At Home order will be ending on June 1 to be replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery for Mississippi.

Reeves laid out the latest stage, opening all businesses in Mississippi to restart our state's economy and also use common sense for safety and stop spread of coronavirus. The new executive order details updated social distancing guidelines for Mississippians, businesses, healthcare professionals, and indoor and outdoor recreation.

"We are facing two ongoing emergencies. One is the public health crisis that we have been up here every day to talk about. That threat is real, dangerous, and deadly. It is here, and we must face it," said Reeves. "We also face an economic crisis in this country, the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. While we have never seen a spike of serious cases in Mississippi, we have seen economic catastrophe. We have to address both."

The Safe Return Order takes effect on Monday, June 1, at 8 a.m. as the previous order ends and will remain in effect until Monday, June 15. at 8 a.m.

Reeves also issued another executive order to begin safely reopening ballparks, movie theaters, libraries, and museums to provide additional outlets for Mississippians to take care of their mental health as well as restart our economy. Detailing strict social distancing guidelines for team practices and games, moviegoers, and more, the new executive order also takes effect on Monday, June 1, at 8 a.m. to allow businesses and leagues time to implement the new protocols.

Click the attachments to read the governor's new executive orders.

Reeves' announcement Wednesday included opening outdoor activities, like baseball tournaments, with a limit of up to 100 people. When social distancing not possible, the limit is no more than 50. Reeves says indoor events are limited to no more than 20 people.

The governor also announced school buildings may open for summer programs, with social distancing and common sense still being priorities.

Reeves said this doesn't mean the threat from COVID-19 is gone.

"We live in a dangerous times," said Reeves. "I trust the people of Mississippi. I know you want to do right."

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says there are ongoing concerns about localized outbreaks. He referenced a recent funeral in northeast Mississippi where more than 50 people were gathered. He says one asymptomatic person led ultimately to the infection of 21 of those people.

Dobbs says there has been improvement in the seven counties that were previously identified as outbreak hotspots, specifically reduction in the escalation of cases, in Newton, Scott, Leake and Attala counties.

However, he says Wayne County has seen a "remarkable increase" in the number of cases over the past two weeks. Dobbs says there should be zero large gatherings there because the virus is being transferred.

In responding to a question, Dobbs said a cloth mask could block up to 90% of particles from being transmitted and prevents people from breathing in potentially infectious particles.

Dobbs was asked how the health department believes transmission is taking place. He said some is happening within families, such as having extended family over for a Sunday meal or a visit, and social gatherings like block parties and barbecues. He says those type events are happening even within the coronavirus pandemic.

Dobbs also noted in responding to a question that his department does not have reports of transmission through grocery stores and other large businesses, or even within the health care industry. He said close proximity and "breathing on each other" accounts for the spread of COVID-19.

Reeves pointed out that 2.2 million community masks have been distributed to the state's 82 counties.

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