On May 8, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said he would begin to allow restaurants and retailers to reopen, once the city's stay at home order ends May 15.
“We will open with guidelines on how retail establishments should move forward, (and) with guidelines on how many of the restaurants and other facilities shall open," he said. "The reason I am announcing this today, is because I respect and appreciate it will take time for these businesses to open with these restrictions.”
Lumumba did not share all the details about what guidelines businesses would have to follow, but said there would be "requirements for wearing face masks and having sanitizer on hand. And there possibly will be requirements not directing people to have face masks, but to have facial coverings as they go into establishments.”
He said the administration would make more details on those requirements available next week.
The city's top elected leader told the press he does not want to reopen the city, but said his hand is being forced by the state government.
“We can maintain our social distancing, but it has little effect if people who live in Jackson can go north, south, east or west to go into places that are now open for public congregation, and then come back in the city and pass the virus along.”
The mayor pointed to the fact that his executive order, coupled with the state's executive order, have caused confusion for businesses.
Gov. Tate Reeves began lifting restrictions on retail businesses recently. This week Reeves lifted some restrictions on outdoor gatherings as well. On May 8, Reeves stated that salons, gyms and nail salons could begin opening on May 11.
However, under Lumumba's order, restaurants, bars and non-essential retailers could only be open for curbside and delivery, while barber shops, salons and gyms had to remain closed.
Lumumba's executive order is slated to expire May 15.
"We are an island in the midst of the state, which is holding down these restrictions while the rest of the area is opening up."
He said that if cases of COVID in the city go up, he would not hesitate to put the restrictions back in place.