City shelter-in-place order going into effect Friday evening; significant changes ahead

Published 2:07 pm Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thursday, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced a shelter-in-place order for the city of Vicksburg that mirrors much of the order announced Wednesday by Gov. Tate Reeves.

These orders — along with previously announced changes — are part of steps being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. As of Thursday, Warren County had two confirmed cases of the virus involving Warren County residents, but that number is expected to rise as more testing is conducted.

The order, which will begin Friday at 5 p.m., includes not only additional travel and business restrictions, but also a longer curfew for juveniles within the city and extends already existing restrictions to Monday, April 20.

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Some of the biggest changes with the new order are the closing to the public, or closing altogether, of some city buildings and facilities, and allowing daycare operations to now open after they had been deemed essential businesses.

Some of the new and amended restrictions include:

• A shelter-in-place order — All individuals currently living in the city of Vicksburg are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except as allowed by this proclamation. Individuals using outdoor space when outside of their homes or residences shall maintain social distancing. There shall not be gatherings of more than 10 persons at a residence unless the persons live there. This includes a prohibition against house parties, barbeques and other social gatherings of more than 10 persons at a residence.  Individuals may leave their residences for the following activities:

  • To engage in activities or perform tasks necessary to their health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets) or the health and safety of those persons who are unable or should not leave their home.
  • To obtain necessary food, services or supplies for themselves and members of their household needed to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of the residence, or to deliver those goods or services to those persons who are unable or should not leave their home.
  • To engage in individual outdoor activity and recreation (not group recreation or activities such as soccer or basketball games).
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at businesses allowed to remain open or to carry out activities permitted in this Proclamation.

• A juvenile curfew — In addition to the city-wide curfew that goes from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., this order establishes a curfew for juveniles 17 and under from 7:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. Juveniles should not be on the public streets during this time unless the juvenile is traveling to or from work or with a parent or responsible guardian.   

• Eliminates outside seating areas for restaurants and private clubsRestaurants and private clubs shall be limited to pick-up, curbside service, delivery, or drive-through services for food, but shall close any dine-in or outside seating area available to the public. There shall not be more than 10 employees and 10 customers inside (waiting to pick-up) the abovementioned businesses at any one time. These establishments must close by 11 p.m. and remain closed until 5 a.m.

• Some exceptions to order limiting the number of customers in store and in parking lot — Retail and convenience stores shall allow no more than 10 persons inside the store and no more than 10 persons in the parking lot/gas service areas of the premises at any one time. This excludes grocery stores and other essential retail stores that provide food and beverage, medicine, building materials, or plumbing supplies. These businesses should require social distancing and have hand sanitizer available.

• Clearly defining permitted travel under shelter-in-place — Those permitted to travel and engaged in travel must adhere to the CDC and the Mississippi Department of Health recommendations and guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and aggressive hygiene including frequent hand washing, and use of sanitizer. Permitted travel includes the following:

  • Travel to and from work,
  • Travel to and from grocery stores, pharmacies, medical and dental clinics, other retail allowed to remain open,
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons including to obtain COVID-19 testing for such individuals,
  • Travel to or from educational institutions including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, and other educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other education-related purposes,
  • Travel to or from their place of residence,
  • Travel required by law enforcement,
  • Travel for health and safety reasons not specifically mentioned herein

• Declaring non-essential businesses — The following categories of businesses are deemed to be non-essential and must temporarily close until April 20, 2020, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • All places of amusement and recreation, whether indoor or outdoor
  • Theaters
  • Gyms
  • Barbers and beauty salons
  • Massage, nail and day spas or salons
  • Sporting and concert venues
  • Bars (except for the sale of food)
  • Nightclubs (except for the sale of food)
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Tanning salons
  • Convention centers
  • Community centers
  • Parks
  • Dance studios
  • Children’s party & play facilities
  • Social clubs
  • Museums

• While essential, businesses must follow social-distancing — All other businesses not specifically mentioned herein should require social distancing from its employees and patrons and follow the environmental cleaning and hygiene guidelines from the CDC.

• Some city buildings, facilities closed and/or closed to the public — Except for the Vicksburg Police Department which will remain open to the public, entrances to city buildings where the public normally conducts business shall be closed, with the understanding that the public can still contact and perform business with city officials and essential employees via telephone, e-mail, drive-through (where available), and written communication during this period of time. In the event someone needs to conduct face-to-face business with a city department, it is recommended that they call the number listed herein and posted on the door of that city building in order to be admitted:

  • City Hall – 601-634-4553
  • Community Development – 601-634-4528
  • Animal control – 601-636-6982
  • Cemetery – 601-634-4513
  • Auditorium – closed
  • Convention Center – closed
  • Robert M. Walker Building – 601-631-3710
  • Purchasing Department – 601-634-4550
  • Recreation – closed
  • Airport – 601-636-4925
  • Senior Center – closed
  • Water & Gas – drive-through only