At a press conference, on April 22, Gov. Tate Reeves discussed how the state would likely begin to reopen businesses and the economy following the stay-at-home orders issued in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Reeves said his office and health experts are looking at numerous options, including beginning to open the state by region.
He was also looking at what types of businesses could be reopened first, as well as whether hospitals could handle the risk of potentially more infections that could come from the economy being reopened.
“We are looking at industries that can quickly get back to work and do it in a safe way,” he said.
“Obviously, if you’re in an industry that has interpersonal contact with lots of individuals coming through, that is more complicated than an industry that has a fairly large space where six or eight or 10 people are six, or eight or 10 feet apart throughout the day.
“We’re talking about those distinctions.”
“With respect to restaurants, we're having good conversations surrounding that, as to dine-in services and to how that will look. We haven’t made any final decisions yet.”
He said some restaurants likely could be open for dine-in services, if they’re able to sit people more than six feet apart, and as long as they do not serve groups of 10 or more people.
Reeves issued an executive order earlier this month, shutting most businesses and ordering individuals to shelter-in-place.
The order was expected to be lifted April 20 but was extended to April 27. However, the latter did lift some previous restrictions.
Among changes, the governor's second order lifted bans on visiting Mississippi’s lakes and beaches. Previously, residents were banned from visiting them. Additionally, the governor allowed some non-essential businesses to open for curbside services, deliveries or drive-through sales, according to local media.
As it considers at reopening the economy, Reeves said the state is also looking at hospital and testing capacity. He’s encouraged by the fact that the state’s coronavirus levels have remained lower than expert predictions.
He said the state is also investigating whether hospitals have enough personal protection equipment, such as masks, as well as hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators.
“We are feeling more and more confident because we didn’t have a major peak,” he said.
He said he expects to make a decision on what will happen after April 27 within the next 36 to 48 hours.