Saturday morning, the city of Long Beach approved an emergency proclamation issued by Mayor George Bass closing city buildings and facilities. Additionally, prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more, closing establishments, and limiting access to the city.
The statement issued by the City of Long Beach reads:
On March 13th, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-Ig) pandemic and the Governor of the State of Mississippi issued a similar declaration of emergency. Mayor George L. Bass under authority of 45-17-3, et seq., Miss Code Ann. and related statutes did find, proclaim and declare a Civil Emergency in the City of Long Beach, and therefore proclaimed a local state of emergency in the City of Long Beach, Mississippi, as of noon CST, on March 16, 2020, as a result of the spread of Covid-19, a novel coronavirus, within Mississippi and the potential impacts thereof (illness, injury and death) which threaten the City of Long Beach and Harrison County in the State of Mississippi.
On March 17, 2020, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Long Beach, Mississippi, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. *45-17-3, et seq. and Miss. Code Ann. *33-15-17, et seq., issued a “Resolution By The Mayor And Board of Aldermen Of The City Of Long Beach, Mississippi Ratifying and Confirming The Proclamation By The Mayor of The City of Long Beach Declaring A Civil and/or Local Emergency To Exist As A Result Of A Threatened Or Existing Public Health Emergency Resulting From The Covid-19 Crisis, and For Related Purposes; and COVID-I9 is a disease that can result in severe illness or death and can easily spread from person to person, and which is caused by a new strain of coronavirus that had not previously been identified in humans.
Federal, State, and Local Authorities have continually impressed upon the public the importance of heeding the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state departments of health, and the President concerning steps necessary to stop the spread of this outbreak, which has now been turned into a pandemic, one of the most significant of which is the need to “social distance” ourselves from others in all places, including in the public; and authorities have previously advised the citizens of the State ofMississippi to practice social distancing measures and to avoid large gatherings.
Unfortunately, there are many in our communities who have continued to congregate in the public, including at places of business, all of which have and, if permitted to continue, will contribute to the spread of this disease and prolific exposure of our citizens to this emergent threat to public health and safety; and in an effort prevent the spread of this disease, and in an effort to curb the growth of cases of affected persons and conditions, authorities across the country have taken and are continuing to take extraordinary measures to limit and inhibit close personal contact in the community through the issuance of orders and enactment of legislation, many of which have restricted access to areas that are routinely used for gatherings of people.
The Mississippi Department of Health (“MDOH”)has reported that as of March 19, 2020, there were eighty (8o) positive cases of coronavirus in the State of Mississippi, including eight (8) in Harrison County, Mississippi, where the City of Long Beach is located; and the City of Long Beach does not have the luxury of a “wait-and-see” approach to the coronavirus pandemic and, trends across the world have demonstrated that such an approach can and will be costly in terms of public health, including an increase in deaths, which the MDOH is now recommending that all restaurants and bars suspend dine-in services immediately and that various social and public events be limited; and extraordinary measures related to the spread of the coronavirus are necessary and needed to be expedient for the health, safety, and welfare and good order to protect the public peace and save and preserve lives.
To comply with the directives and guidelines of the CDC and the MDOH, as well as the President of the United States, as part of an effort to thwart the spread of this disease and to safeguard the health and safety of the public, including City employees, public entrances to all municipal buildings and facilities should be closed to the public as of 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, and should not re-open until further notice, with the understanding that the public could still contact and perform business with City officials and employees through non-face-to-face contact via the telephone, e-mail, drive thru service (where available), and written communications (regular U. S. Mail, etc.) during this period of time.
In furtherance of these efforts and interests,all public parks should be closed to gatherings of individuals in excess of ten (10) persons, such to be effective as of 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, until further notice; and in further promotion of these efforts and interests, certain eventsand gatherings should be temporarily curtailed, and other orders issued pertaining tovarious other matters.
Pursuant to the authority vested in me by Mississippi Law, including, but not limited to, Miss. Code Ann. *47-17-7, et seq. and Miss. Code Ann. *33-15-17, et seq., as amended, and in the public interest of the City of Long Beach, and to safeguard and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, As Mayor, I do hereby issue this Emergency Proclamation (also referred to as “Proclamation”) out herein.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that to comply with the directives and guidelines of the CDC, the Mississippi State Department of Health, as well as the President of the United States, as part of an effort to thwart the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-I9), and to safeguard the health and safety of the public, including City employees, public entrances to all municipal buildings and facilities within the City of Long Beach shall be, and hereby are, temporarily closed to the public as of 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, and shall not re-open until further notice or expiration of the ongoing State of Emergency related to this pandemic issued by the City of Long Beach, whichever shall occur first, with the understanding that the public can still contact and perform business with City officials and employees through non-face-to-face contact via the telephone, e-mail, drive thru service (where available), and written communications (regular U. S. Mail, etc.) during this period of time. It is further ordered that (1) all events of more than ten (10) people in the City of Long Beach are hereby temporally prohibited; and (2) all events of ten (10) people or fewer in the City of Long Beach are limited, as provided herein:
1. An event, for purposes of this Proclamation, is an organized, orchestrated or sponsored gathering that people are invited to attend or encouraged to attend through advertising or membership. Further, an event is a gathering for business, social, or recreational activity, including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, or sporting event; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers, large private parties, celebrations, or banquets; and artistic performances and spiritual and faith-based gatherings.
2. An event, for purposes of this Proclamation, is not a public location where people pass through, such as transportation centers, airports, public squares, and shopping areas. Retail establishments such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and banks are not events. Medical facilities, office environments, factories, schools, universities, and City-owned or leased buildings where essential functions and services are being carried out are not events.
3. Organizers of events of ten (10) people or fewer must ensure that: (a) Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions that are at increased risk of serious COVID-I9 are encouraged not to attend (b) Social distancing recommendations, as prescribed by the Mississippi State Department of Health must be met (c) Proper hygiene and sanitation must be readily available to all attendees and individuals involved (d) Environmental cleaning guidelines from the CDC are followed.
All restaurants located in the City of Long Beach, with or without drive-in or drive-through services, may only provide take-out, pick-up, delivery, or drive-through services as allowed by law. There shall be no in-house dining or available sitting areas for the public. It is further ordered that all bars, nightclubs,lounges, taverns, and private clubs located in the City of Long Beach shall close, except to the extent that such establishments may only provide take-out, pick-up, delivery, or drive-through services for food as allowed by law. It is further ordered that only to the extent allowed by state and federal law and the United States Constitution, this Proclamation of Executive Order prohibiting and limiting events is applicable to spiritual and faith-based gatherings.
Finally, this Proclamation shall be: (1) filed with the City Clerk; (2) distributed to the news media and other organizations reasonably calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public; and (g) distributed to others as necessary to ensure proper implementation of this Proclamation. It is further ordered that violations of this Proclamation may be subject to misdemeanor prosecution pursuant to State Law, including, but not limited to, Miss. Code Ann. *45-17-9, as amended, as well as the City’s Code of Ordinances, including, but not limited to *1-9 of the City’s Code of Ordinances. It is further ordered that, except for what is otherwise set out herein, this Emergency Proclamation shall be, and hereby is, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020.