RALEIGH, MS - Today at 5:00PM, Mississippi will begin sheltering-in-place pursuant to Executive Order 1466, issued by Governor Tate Reeves on Wednesday, April 1st. With this unprecedented action, many Smith Countians are wondering "what does this mean for me?"
Well, simply put in a broad definition, shelter-in-place means that you are not allowed to leave your home or primary residence for any reason. However, in the case of the coronavirus, there are some exceptions on what you can do, and what you cannot do. It is the intent of the Smith County Emergency Management Agency to make sure you are informed and prepared for the next two weeks.
To begin with, if you follow Smith County on Twitter or Facebook, you should receive an alert notification at 5:00 PM today to let you know that shelter-in-place has started. After this notification, non-essential travel is prohibited, and will continue that way until April 20th, when the order is either lifted or extended, based on the circumstances.
Now, there are many questions regarding the shelter-in-place order, and what you can and cannot do. It is our hope, that this list of FAQ from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will answer some of those questions.
How long will the shelter-in-place order last?
It will be in effect from Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5:00 PM until Monday, April 20, 2020 at 8:00 AM.
Can I travel to work?
Can i travel to the grocery store?
can i travel to the doctor/dentist?
Yes. Travel for health and safety is permitted. o For previously scheduled appointments, check with your healthcare provider before traveling. Your healthcare provider should be observing instructions from the Mississippi Dept. of Health and not conducting non-essential visits or performing elective procedures or surgery. If healthcare visits and procedures can safely be rescheduled they should be.
can i travel to the pharmacy to fill my prescription?
Yes. Travel for health and safety is permitted.
can i travel to and from work if i live in the county and work outside the county?
Yes. This shelter in place applies to your County. But you should consider taking your most recent pay stub or other record to establish where you work.
can i travel to my school or take my child to school?
Travel to or from schools is allowed for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, to receive meals, and for other education related purposes. All Mississippi public schools are closed for the immediate future and are utilizing distance learning. All Mississippi public universities have moved to online formats.
can i exercise or work out?
can i get my hair and nails done?
No. Salons, barbershops and other similar personal care and grooming facilities are closed during this Shelter in Place.
can i go shopping?
Yes, but only for food or supplies needed to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of your home or for other people who are unable to or should not leave their home.
can i visit a family member in the hospital or nursing home?
No. Most visits are not allowed. For the safety of residents, patients and staff, visits to hospitals and nursing homes are prohibited except to visit those individuals receiving imminent end-of-life care, or as otherwise allowed by that healthcare facility.
can i travel outside the county to visit family?
I have an elderly shut-in relative, may I help them buy groceries, deliver medicine, or take them to an essential doctor visit?
Yes. Travel is permitted for health and safety, or to get necessary food, services or supplies for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
What if I’m laid off while my business is closed during this COVID-19 epidemic?
My family reunion will have more than 10 people attending and it is scheduled during this shelter in place, may I still go?
No. All non-essential, social gatherings of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled. This includes gatherings like weddings, funerals, reunions, and backyard barbecues.
If a family member has been quarantined because of a known contact with an active diagnosed case of COVID-19, may I still visit him/her?
No. Please consult with the appropriate medical and health officials on specific instructions.
I have a court appearance schedule during this shelter in place order, may I attend? o Yes. Courts are an Essential
What if my City or Town has adopted more strict regulations?
How do I know if my business is essential?
Essential Business or Operations are established by Executive Order 1463. That order is available on the Secretary of State’s website under Communications and Publications/Executive Orders at https://www.sos.ms.gov/EducationPublications/Pages/Executive-Orders.aspx
When I’m traveling, how can I establish that I work for an Essential Business or Operation?
As you can see, there are many exceptions and exemptions from the order. Make sure you are familiar with them, and follow the directives as given by state officials. We urge everyone to heed the order, not only for your safety, but to avoid fines or charges. The order gives state and local law enforcement the authority to write citations and issue fines for violation of the shelter-in-place order. Other measures can also be taken.
We understand that asking everyone to stay home for two weeks is extremely difficult. It's not easy. But, its absolutely imperative that we do it. These are serious, somber times. We are fighting a deadly disease as a state, country, and world. People are scared and isolated. The news is terrifying, and we know that we deliver a lot of it.
"I know this won’t be easy. I also know that we can do it. We’re Mississippi, and we can rally together to slow this virus down. We’re not afraid of hard moments—we step up. You’re protecting your parent, spouse, friend, neighbor, and more by doing so. You’re protecting yourself—this thing is bad. Previous generations were called to world wars. We were called to stay home for a time. I miss church. I miss sports. I miss friends. I know you do to. It’s not fun, but it’s the right tool at the right time to protect us from our enemy. Be smart. Use sense. Stay home. Stay safe. God bless." - Governor tate reeves
Hang in there, Smith County. This isn't forever. We will overcome this, and we will beat COVID-19.