Mississippi’s economy continues to slowly come back online, with Gov. Tate Reeves saying tattoo parlors in the state can again reopen, effective immediately.
On April 15, Gov. Tate Reeves said at a press conference that the businesses could reopen, as long as they follow guidelines “very similar” to salons and barber shops.
Reeves also announced that he was making other changes to his "safer at home" executive order to lift bans on fishing tournaments and to allow cities to again regulate hours at public parks.
The new executive rules also enable restaurants that do not serve alcohol to offer in-house dining to the public 24 hours a day and allow dance studios to open, as long as they follow the same guidelines as gyms.
The order expires 8 a.m., May 25.
Despite the re-openings, Reeves said the outbreak continues, and urged people to practice social distancing, wear masks in public and stay vigilant.
“None of these mean that the danger is gone,” he said. “(But) the threat of newfound poverty … is serious and could be deadly for thousands of Mississippians as well.”
Reeves was referring to the businesses that have been closed and jobs that have been lost as a result of the virus-related lock downs.
Thousands of Mississippians are currently receiving unemployment benefits as a result, something which Reeves told the media he laments.
In other news, Mississippi reported 318 new cases of coronavirus as of May 15, bringing the total number of cases to 10,801. The day's numbers also included 13 new deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the Magnolia State to 493.
State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs announced that the number of people in hospitals as a result of the virus has remained stable. However, he said there has been a “modest bump” in the number of ICU patients over the last several days.
“It’s something we’re watching closely because coronavirus is still out there and people are still getting sick.”
To date, the state has approximately 600 ventilators that are not being used. However, the state was beginning to see hospitals in the metro Jackson area reach capacity. Dobbs said that was because the hospitals were returning to business as usual, rather than because of the virus.
On a positive note, Dobbs said that the state is now distributing a new anti-viral drug, Remdesivir, to hospitals. So far, it has been given to 14 hospitals in the state.
The names of the hospitals receiving the drugs were not immediately available.
According to a May 14 article from the University of California San Francisco, the drug fights the virus by “faking the virus into thinking it’s a building block of the viral genetic material.”
The university explained it further, saying that the virus is tricked into using the drug in building new RNA, something that stops the viral reproductive process.
Rules for the tattoo parlors, employees and customers are listed below:
- Before they can reopen, the tattoo parlor must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom. After opening, tattoo parlors must be deep-cleaned daily.
- All tattoo parlors 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.
- Services are allowed only by appointment. No walk-in customers at this time.
- Minimizing person-to-person contact through technology, like mobile or online reservations and contact-less payment, is encouraged.
- Tattoo parlors must post signage at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
- Only one customer per employee is allowed in the tattoo parlor at any given time.
- Tattooing and piercing around the mouth and nose are prohibited.
- Chairs are to be rearranged to ensure at least 6 feet between each customer.
- Chair and workstations must be sanitized after each use by a customer.
- All high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.
- Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances.
- 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.
- All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are encouraged to wear face shields while tattooing a customer.
- Employees must also wear disposable gloves and change them between customers, as well as wash their hands between every customer.
- All waiting areas are to remain closed. Customers must wait in their vehicles until their appointment time and they are called for screening before entering.
- Customers must sanitize their hands when entering and exiting.
- All customers must be screened upon entry.
- Customers must wear a face covering, such as a cloth mask, while inside at all times.