By Edelia Carthan,
The City of Jackson has been under an extended Stay at Home executive order signed by the mayor since May 1. When the executive order expires May 15, the city will reopen for business with restrictions according to the mayor.
“We will open with restrictions, “ City of Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at a press conference held at city hall Tuesday. Lumumba said he’s forced to reopen the city up for business because he doesn’t want shoppers going to nearby cities spending money and dining. The mayor’s decision comes after Governor Tate Reeves reopened businesses in the state Monday.
Reeves, in his COVID-19 press briefing, May 8, began by stating, “This fight is not over. Please take me seriously. Please take this virus serious. I and everyone in this state want this to be over. It is not. This virus is real. This virus is a threat. It is deadly. Please. Do not listen to the voices in your life that tells you this virus is not dangerous.”
Yet, at the governor’s press briefing he reopened salons, barbershops and gyms amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said we cannot keep businesses closed forever. The governor also extended his Safer at Home executive order by two weeks.
According to the Mississippi Department of Health, over 10,000 Mississippians have tested positive for the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, while over 465 Mississippians have perished from the virus. The number of new cases have not declined. In fact, the day of the governor’s press briefing, Mississippi reported 404 new cases, a record high number.
Lumumba said there will be hand washing stations at the entrances of businesses and employees must wear masks. Customers must also wear some type of face covering according to the new city guidelines. The mayor also said he would be prepared to reimpose regulations if there is a spike in new cases. The mayor said the city will be imposing a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. as the Stay at Home executive order expires.
Some of the other restrictions include restaurants practicing social distancing. Churches are considered essential and allowed to reopen. Worshipers must practice the six-foot social distance precaution. Parks will reopen for physical exercise but the equipment will be covered because of the number of days the virus lives on surfaces. Lumumba closed the press conference by asking citizens and business owners to refer to the city’s website for more information.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the leader of the Coronavirus Task Force, cautioned that a rush to reopen could lead to a spike in the virus according to his testimony during a congressional hearing Tuesday.
“Too quick, too soon. They are reopening new cases of the coronavirus,” Eddie J. Carthan replied when asked his thoughts on the mayor and governor reopening businesses.
Carthan, a former Holmes County supervisor and mayor, said, “They’re putting coronavirus in higher gear to kill more people who will likely be minorities. There is no solution in terms of a cure and hundreds are dying. Opening more businesses will expose more people to the virus. They’re making the virus stronger. They’re blinded by the dollar. They’re risking the lives of people for a dollar.”
Many of the states that are reopening are mainly in the south; Georgia being the first. Texas, Florida and now Mississippi are all reopened for business.