Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed an executive order Friday activating the National Guard in defense of COVID-19. The Mississippi National Guard Public Affairs released a statement Friday saying, “We are committed to keeping the public informed every step of the way during our efforts to diminish the spread of the Coronavirus in Mississippi.”
At the Mississippi National Guard’s web page, the statement says “Mississippi’s Governor reserve the ability, to call up members of the Mississippi National Guard in time of domestic emergencies or need. The National Guard’s state mission is perhaps the most visible and well known. Nearly everyone has seen or heard of Guard units responding to battle fires or helping communities deal with floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or other emergency situations. In times of civil unrest, the citizens of a state can rest assured that the Guard will be ready to respond.”
Mississippi National Guard officials expressed they wanted to reduce scares in the public that their goal in this situation is merely humane. These situations would consist of assist in dispensing materials, such as ice and water; similar to other disasters.
In this scenario, setting up drive-thru COVID-19 screening facilities would be one example of their work.
Finally, the release from the Mississippi National Guard said, “In response to some of the negative or indifferent posts we’ve read on various social media accounts, the MSNG wants to reassure the citizens of Mississippi that Martial Law, or any other form of military control is not an option and is not being enacted. The Stafford Act of 1988, which a lot of these posts are confusing with Martial Law, does not have a provision that would allow the federal government to declare such a military based mission. In fact, the Stafford Act of 1988 is a federal law designed to bring orderly and systematic means of disaster relief and assistance to state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens.”