DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Thursday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced a new order with tighter restrictions for 13 counties.
Reeves said Hinds, DeSoto, Harrison, Rankin, Jackson, Washington, Sunflower, Grenada, Madison, Claiborne, Jefferson, Wayne, and Quitman is where COVID-19 is the most visible and spreading at a higher rate.
“Mississippi is in a fight for our lives, COVID-19 is an ever present threat and we are in the middle of a spike,” said Reeves.
Reeves said the 13 counties have had 200 new cases in last 14 days or an average of 500 cases per 100,000 residents.
Some of the changes the order will bring are limits on social and residential gatherings, no more than 10 people for indoor spaces and no more than 20 for outdoors.
Reeves said there will be additional requirements for businesses and made it clear he will not shutdown any businesses at this time, but employees would have to be screened at the beginning of their shift.
Face masks will now be required when in a public gathering or shopping environment.
The order will not apply to churches.
“I am most hopefully that this will likely serve as a wake up call to the people, not only these counties but in the people across the state,” said Reeves.
Reeves also said restrictions will not change the rules already in place in restaurants, bars or casinos, but if numbers continue to grow he says state leaders will look at additional measures.
In regards to enforcing the new restrictions Reeves says local law enforcement will help, and stated the most important enforcement comes on an individual level with personal responsibility.
Reeves said the order goes into effect the first part of next week, he did not give a specific date.