City, county approve joint state of emergency; city adopts strict policies

Published 11:00 am Monday, March 16, 2020

Vicksburg and Warren County government leaders Monday approved a joint state of emergency.

“Declaring a state of emergency allows us to access mutual-aid resources from the state and federal government, bypass bid laws, and spend whatever money is necessary to respond to the needs of our residents until this outbreak has been contained,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “Vicksburg and Warren County are united in our response to the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to act with our residents’ best interests in mind.”

In approving the declaration, Flaggs recommended the adoption of the Mississippi State Department of Health guidelines.

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The policies adopted Monday by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) include specific preventative measures:

Mississippi guidelines:

  • Anyone 65 years or older, or anyone with severe medical conditions, should not be in or near crowds of over 50 people;
  • Communities should strongly consider canceling events and gatherings where over 50 people will be present;
  • Precautions at gatherings should include proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and enhanced ventilation (HVAC/open windows);
  • After visiting a place where the virus is verified to be present, do not go into crowds and practice social distancing;
  • Do not visit a hospital or emergency room if you believe you have contracted COVID-19. Call ahead before visiting any clinic or hospital for specific testing directions.

City of Vicksburg guidelines:

  • For the next 14 days, City of Vicksburg employees will operate under the “Emergency, hazardous conditions and inclement weather policy.” This policy utilization decision will be re-evaluated on or before March 29, 2020.
  • All police personnel should take proper precautions, such as wearing gloves when making physical contact with the public;
  • Every City of Vicksburg-owned restroom will be checked for sufficient amounts of soap and/or hand sanitizer, and paper towels each hour of the workday for the next 30 days. This policy will be re-evaluated on or before April 13, 2020
  • The City of Vicksburg Senior Center will remain closed for the next 14 days. The closure will be re-evaluated on or before March 29;
  • The City of Vicksburg is suspending water and gas customer disconnects for the next 14 days and will re-evaluate the disconnect suspension policy on or before March 29, 2020;
  • The City of Vicksburg is suspending all city-funded, employee travel for any distance over 100 miles outside of Vicksburg for the next 30 days, unless deemed necessary by the Mayor. The city-funded travel suspension policy will be re-evaluated on or before April 13, 2020;
  • Any City employee, or family member within their household, who travels over 100 miles outside of Vicksburg over the course of the next 30 days is to report it to their immediate supervisor. This travel policy will be re-evaluated on or before April 13, 2020;
  • Any City employee who travels outside of the United States must stay home for 14 days before returning to work over the course of the next 30 days. This travel policy will be re-evaluated on or before April 13, 2020;
  • All City of Vicksburg recreation facilities will be closed for the next 14 days, this includes the Jackson Street YMCA and all City parks and recreation facilities. This policy will be re-evaluated on or before March 29, 2020;
  • There will be no City of Vicksburg public meetings, zoning or code enforcement hearings, or public gatherings of more than 50 people for the next 14 days; additionally, municipal court cases will be postponed for the next 14 days unless deemed an emergency. This policy will be re-evaluated on or before March 29;
  • The City of Vicksburg is recommending that no inside funeral services exceeding more than 50 people be held for the next 14 days and is recommending graveside services only. This policy will be re-evaluated on or before March 29, 2020;
  • The City of Vicksburg is relaxing its dress code policy for the next 14 days to provide for the comfort of its employees. This policy will be re-evaluated on or before March 29, 2020.