Flaggs outlines how restaurants, outdoor recreation will operate

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Those longing to visit their favorite Vicksburg restaurant and enjoy a dinner away from the house do not have to wait any longer as Mayor George Flaggs Jr. lifted the city’s ban on dine-in services Tuesday.

As part of a revised order, restaurants within the city of Vicksburg can once again offer services to those customers looking to dine indoors or outdoor eating areas, but with some strict guidelines in place.

Those operating guidelines for restaurants require the following:

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• Restaurants can begin inside or outside seated dining at 50 percent capacity.

• Employees must be screened and wear a mask at all times.

• Frequent cleaning and sanitizing will be required.

• Disposable menus and condiments must be used.

• No buffets or self-serve stations will be allowed.

• Hand sanitizer must be available at all points of entry and exit, including hostess station, restrooms and cashier.

• Must close no later than 10 p.m.

• Social distancing is required by customers waiting to be seated and between table

These new guidelines, which follows the order announced Monday by Gov. Tate Reeves, will extend through Monday, June 1 at which time Flaggs expects they will be extended. 

“They (the amendments) will be extended until we can take them completely off,” Flaggs said. “I gave myself some time out so I could and extend them (the emergency declaration), or if something happens, rescind it. Rather than pass a new version every week, I’ll just amend it.”

Reeves’ order expires Monday but is expected to be extended. If the governor makes any changes to his order, Flaggs said he will make changes to the city’s order to match the state.

“If it takes me coming up here at midnight and implementing it, I’ll do that,” he said.

Self-service buffets, food stations and drink stations are prohibited under the guidelines, but cafeteria-style buffets and food stations, where employees serve food, will be permitted with the appropriate barriers in place.

“The way I understand it, the customer won’t touch the plate,” Flaggs said. “The server will touch the plate. You will tell the person (server) what you want and they will put it on the plate. That way, the person will have a mask on and you will have a mask on and point to the food.”

In addition to the easing of restrictions on restaurants Tuesday, Flaggs also adopted the state’s order on announcing the opening of outdoor recreational facilities such as the city’s parks and the Halls Ferry Park facility, including the tennis courts, baseball and softball fields. Those facilities will be allowed to open at noon Thursday.

The fields will be available for practices only at this time and gatherings will be limited to 20 people.

Pet groomers will also be allowed to resume business Thursday.

The city’s new order also allows for a curfew exemption for the purposes of walking, exercise or walking a pet as early as 4 a.m.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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