Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said no curfew is needed for the city.
At its meeting on April 14, the city council is slated to consider a proposal from Ward Four Councilman De'Keither Stamps, which would implement a temporary city-wide curfew in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lumumba said he applauds Stamps' efforts, but said the curfew would be less restrictive than the current stay-at-home order now in place.
The mayor issued a temporary shelter-in-place order last week. The order took effect on April 3 and runs until April 17. A similar order enacted by Gov. Tate Reeves is in place until April 20.
"Councilman Stamps and I discussed it, and I talked thoroughly about it with our COVID-19 task force, and we determined the curfew is less restrictive than the current stay-at-home order," Lumumba said.
Under the mayor's order, residents are ordered to stay at home, unless they're seeking essential services, such as food or medical care. The order also temporarily closes non-essential businesses, and continues to prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people, all in an effort to reduce opportunities to spread the coronavirus.
Lumumba further stated that a curfew actually would, among other things, lead to larger crowds at grocery stores. "People would rush to the grocery store before the curfew and we would end up with the same crowds we're trying to avoid," he said.
Stamps' proposal would limit non-essential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and would go into effect April 15.
Prior to the issuance of the governor's executive order, several cities across the state had implemented curfews, including Biloxi and Gulfport. Some municipalities on the Gulf Coast had also limited the number of shoppers allowed at one time in some big box retailers, the Sun Herald reported. In the Delta, Yazoo City and Yazoo County had implemented curfews, according to the Yazoo Herald.
Council President Virgi Lindsay also is opposed to the idea. She said the measure would tax the city's police department, when it is already working to enforce existing stay-at-home rules.
As of April 10, more than 2,600 cases of coronavirus had been reported in the state, along with 93 deaths. The hardest-hit counties include Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Yazoo, Scott and Lauderdale counties in Central Mississippi. Each of those counties has more than 50 cases of the virus reported, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
The council meets at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 14, at Jackson City Hall. Residents are able to watch the meeting via the city's website, jacksonms.gov.