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Governor amends Safer at Home order to safely reopen restaurants and parks

Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced the next phase for Mississippi to begin slowly and safely reopening the state’s economy while continuing to flatten the curve.
In a new executive order, Reeves laid out the next steps of a measured, strategic plan following our state health officials recommendations to protect lives while restoring Mississippians’ livelihoods. This order amends his Safer At Home order, which remains in effect until May 11. The new guidelines go into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, until 8 a.m. May 11, which is when the Safer At Home order ends as well.
“I don’t want to wait if there are steps that we believe we can safely take now to ease the burden on Mississippians fighting this virus. There are thousands around the state that are set to close their doors for good. They cannot hold on much longer. I hope that this will not only be some much-needed relief for those restaurant employees but also provide for some joy for the people of Mississippi,” said Reeves.
In this order, the Governor lays out strict social distancing guidelines to begin the process of slowly and safely reopening restaurants and allowing outdoor recreation, including:
Restaurants:

  • Before in-house dining can resume, the entire restaurant and bar must be deep-cleaned, disinfected and sanitized top to bottom.
  • All restaurants and bars are expected to take every step necessary to implement the regulations, orders and guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • Cloth masks must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that mask throughout their shift.
  • All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • No more than 50 percent seating capacity in both indoor and outdoor dining areas, and floor plans must be updated to ensure at least 6 feet between each group. Party sizes will be limited to no more than six people per table.
  • Bars and bar areas that do no offer food services are to remain closed.
  • Minimizing person-to-person contact through technology, like mobile or online reservations and contact-less payment, is encouraged.
  • Customers will be screened upon entry. Restaurants and bars must post signage at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
  • Cafeteria-style buffets and food stations that are manned by restaurant staff are allowed with appropriate barriers to limit contact. Self-service buffets, food stations and drink stations are prohibited.
  • All restaurants and bars must place hand sanitizer at all entrances, hostess stations, in/near bathrooms and at cashier stations.

Outdoor recreation:

  • Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people for indoor activities and a maximum of 20 people for outside activities.

Parks can open to the public from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. for outdoor recreation under guidance from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and local authorities, with people following social distancing guidelines such as 6 feet separation. Outdoor recreation activities, such as swimming, are also allowed within those same hours.