by Hunter Dawkins

Wednesday morning, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared the “Safer At Home” executive order will be ending on June 1 to be replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery for Mississippi from the global pandemic of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

In his new Safe Return order, Governor Reeves arranged the latest stage of his measured and strategic plan, opening all businesses in Mississippi to restart our state’s economy while continuing to flatten the curve. Consulting with Dr. Thomas Dobbs; executive director of the Mississippi Department of Health and our state health experts, the new executive order details updated social distancing guidelines for all citizens, businesses, healthcare professionals, indoor and outdoor recreation.

“We are facing two ongoing emergencies. One is the public health crisis that we have been up here every day to talk about. That threat is real, dangerous, and deadly. It is here, and we must face it,” said Governor Reeves at the press briefing. “We also face an economic crisis in this country, the likes of which we have not seen since the great depression. While we have never seen a spike of serious cases in Mississippi, we have seen economic catastrophe. We have to address both.”

The Safe Return order takes effect on Monday, June 1 at 8:00 AM as the previous order ends and will remain in effect until Monday, June 15 at 8:00 AM.

As far as the numbers in the state from Thursday, the state health department reported 14,372 official cases and 693 deaths.  Harrison County has confirmed 247 designees and 7 deaths from COVID-19.  A large amount of the reported cases and deaths have been from long term care facilities recently, according to Dr. Dobbs.

The Governor answered several questions from The Gazebo Gazette about the reopening of schools in the fall and economic analysis recently provided by the State Economist Darren Webb to the Mississippi State Senate.  “It is not an option to keep schools closed from learning,” stated Governor Reeves.  “We do understand inherent rises in events.”  In regards to the economy, “I have worked with Dr. Webb for many years, as I have been a public servant for 17 years.  My glass has always been a little more half full than his.”

Additionally, the governor issued another executive order to begin safely reopening ballparks, movie theaters, libraries, and museums to provide additional outlets for Mississippians to take care of their mental health as well as restart our economy. Detailing strict social distancing guidelines for team practices and games, moviegoers, and more, the new executive order also takes effect on Monday, June 1 at 8:00 AM to allow businesses and leagues time to implement the new protocols.