Many restrictions lifted: Flaggs unveils city’s revised COVID-19 emergency orders
Published 10:02 am Friday, March 12, 2021
Mayor George Flaggs Jr., during a press conference Friday, announced the lifting of some restrictions tied to the city’s ongoing COVID-19 emergency orders, with some mainstays of the order remaining in place.
Some of the biggest changes are the expansion of hours for bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, the elimination of most occupancy restrictions and the resumption of the crime task force. Social distancing measures, the city’s mask mandate and a juvenile curfew will remain in place at least through April 1.
Below is the actual order released Friday:
PROCLAMATION REGARDING THE RE-OPENING OF VICKSBURG WHILE MINIMIZING THE RISK OF INFECTION AND TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, EFFECTIVE FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021 AT NOON THROUGH NOON ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2021
WHEREAS, pursuant to §§45-17-1 through 45-17-13, and §33-15-17 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, the Mayor is authorized to proclaim that a Civil Emergency exists defined as any natural disaster or man-made calamity resulting in the death or injury of persons to such an extent that extraordinary measures must be taken to protect the public health, safety and welfare; and
WHEREAS, §21-19-3 gives municipalities the authority to make regulations to prevent the spreading of contagious or infectious diseases and to make quarantine laws for that purpose; and
WHEREAS, §33-15-17 authorizes the Mayor to control or restrict egress, ingress and movement within the local emergency area necessary to facilitate the protection of life and property; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to these laws, the Mayor is authorized to issue such orders as he deems necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Vicksburg, Mississippi; and
WHEREAS, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has spread across this nation is a worldwide pandemic and as of March 12, 2021, the Mississippi Department of Health has reported 299,887 positive confirmed cases and 6,883 deaths in Mississippi, 115 of which were in Warren County; and
WHEREAS, previous emergency orders have required that persons stay at home and that certain businesses be closed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of Mississippi has repealed most statewide mandates and encouraged reasonable measures in an effort to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while allowing the businesses to open and persons to return to work and allowing local governments to adopt regulations more restrictive for the local communities; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary for Vicksburg businesses to safely operate and Vicksburg citizens to safely return to work; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED BY THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF VICKSBURG pursuant to §§45-17-1 through 45-17-13, §21-19-3 and §33-15-17 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, the following regulations apply:
The following regulations shall continue and be in effect on March 12, 2021, beginning at Noon:
A. FACE COVERINGS SHALL CONTINUE TO BE MANDATED AS FOLLOWS:
1. Customers shall wear a face covering inside public businesses/buildings if social distancing cannot be practiced or if the business posts a sign requiring all persons entering to wear a face covering.
2. Employees of retail businesses, restaurants and bars shall wear a face covering, covering the mouth and nose, and shall be required to wear a face covering while on duty, and such face covering shall be cleaned or replaced at least daily.
3. Hand sanitizer shall be made available to all employees and shall be made available to customers at points of entry and exit, in or near the bathrooms, and at the cashier or payment stations.
4. Retail businesses, restaurants and bars shall make all reasonable efforts to maintain 6 feet separation between customers (or parties of customers) at all times, including 6 feet separation while waiting in cashier or payment lines.
5. Carts and baskets and all other surfaces that are contacted by customers during the course of providing services shall be sanitized after each customer’s use. All other high-touch areas, including all door handles, shall be sanitized every two hours at a minimum.
B. EXCEPTIONS TO THE FACE COVERING REQUIREMENTS: Face coverings do not apply to the following:
a. Any individual who will not come in contact with any other individual (outside of their immediate household members) or who will be able to maintain strict social distancing of six (6) feet apart from any other individual (outside of immediate household);
b. Any child under the age of eight; however, all children between the ages of two (2) and Seven (7) years old are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.
c. Any individual with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering;
d. Any individual who is consuming food or drinks;
e. Any individual seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired;
f. Any individual giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience; and
g. Any individual temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes.
h. Business owners and managers are entitled to rely upon the representations of their customers, patrons and employees regarding whether or not they qualify for an exception from the face covering requirement.
C. Salons, barbershops, spas, massage parlors, and other personal care and personal grooming facilities, tattoo parlors, and pet groomers shall operate subject to the following limitations:
1. Every employee shall be required to wear a face covering, covering the nose and mouth, while on duty.
2. All employees must wash hands between serving each customer, and more frequently if necessary. If appropriate for the service provided, gloves are recommended and should be discarded after each customer.
3. Customers shall wear a face covering, covering the nose and mouth, while inside the facility except when receiving a service that otherwise could not be provided while wearing a face covering or if they cannot practice social distancing.
D. SPECIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE: The Special Task Force previously created will resume operations. There shall be a minimum of eleven (11) patrol officers, a watch commander and deputy chief on duty each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. through the duration of this order.
E. Any business that sells alcohol for on-premises consumption or allows alcohol to be consumed on the premises, other than those under the jurisdiction of the MS Gaming Commission, shall not sell alcohol or allow consumption on the premises between 12:00 midnight and 7:00 a.m. This includes restaurants, bars, BYOB, or other entertainment venues that sell or allow consumption of alcohol on the premises. The businesses that sell alcohol or allow consumption of alcohol on the premises must close by 1:00 a.m.
E. JUVENILE CURFEW: In order to decrease juvenile gatherings and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among juveniles, preserve the resources of the Vicksburg Police Department, and to keep good order, a curfew will be in place 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;
- the juvenile is with a parent or responsible guardian;
- the juvenile is going to or coming from a legitimate school function;
- the juvenile is going to or coming from an organized youth sport activity.
F. BUSINESS CLEANING:
1. All employees shall be required to report any symptoms of COVID-19 to their supervisor, and any employee who exhibits any of the symptoms of COVID-19 during their shift shall be sent home immediately and advised to consult with their physician.
2. All employees shall be provided training regarding minimizing the spread of COVID-19, including reinforcement of proper sanitation, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, and using PPE.
3. Break rooms shall be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and the number of employees in the break room shall be limited to allow for strict social distancing (a minimum of six feet between employees and no gathering of more than ten employees).
4. Appropriate PPE shall be worn by all employees based on their duties and responsibilities. Every employee who comes into direct contact with customers shall be provided a face covering, covering the nose and mouth, and shall be required to wear the face covering while on duty. Such face coverings shall be cleaned or changed at least daily.
5. All high-touch areas, including all door handles shall be sanitized frequently and hand sanitizer available at points of entry and exit.
Individual violations of the face covering regulations will be subject to misdemeanor prosecution pursuant to Sec. 45-17-9 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, Sec. 33-15-7 and Sec. 1-9 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Vicksburg and will be as follows:
- 1st offense – warning
- 2nd offense – $100 fine
- 3rd offense and up – $300 fine per each separate violation
Violation of this EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION will be subject to misdemeanor prosecution pursuant to Sec. 45-17-9 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, Sec. 33-15-7 and Sec. 1-9 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Vicksburg, including a fine of up to $1,000.00 and 90 days in jail.
THIS PROCLAMATION SHALL BE IN EFFECT BEGINNING AT NOON ON FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021 AND SHALL CONTINUE UNTIL NOON ON THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2021, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED HEREIN OR EXTENDED, MODIFIED OR REPEALED BY A SUBSEQUENT PROCLAMATION.