A message from Picayune’s city manager

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 18, 2020

By Jim Luke

As your city manager for the city of Picayune, I want to continue to give you, our community, the most up to date information on the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
Mayor Ed Pinero, City Council members and I could not agree more that our residents’ public safety and health are our top priorities.
Although, the Covid-19 Pandemic has pushed us all into some uncharted waters, we will continue to use the good work ethic and values that we were raised with. We will continue to thrive during these hard times; we are resilient people in Picayune.
The following is an update from Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves:
“One more week of vigilance. One more week of sheltering-in-place. It’s working as a temporary tool. It has to work for one more week, and then we can begin to re-open our state.
There are a few changes coming to our shelter-in-place order that we hope will help the people of Mississippi to stay safe—both mentally and financially.
First, I’ve gotten guidance from our state and local officials that they feel confident they can regulate our lakes and beaches safely. We can allow them to re-open for individuals to fish or relax.
It’s a small thing, but I hope it helps even a bit for people who need to safely get out in the sun for their own sanity. We need to do anything we can to help address the growing depression, isolation, and other mental health issues. That matters.
We’re also starting to ease the brakes on certain small businesses. Again, I hoped we could be at a place where I was announcing a re-opening today. That’s not where we are.
We are going to allow drive-thru, curbside, or delivery sales by “non-essential” businesses.
Clothing stores, florists, or athletic goods can do safe sales. If a salon or other business wants to safely sell their excess supplies to stay afloat, they can do that. Call ahead or order online, then safely pick it up.
They have to follow strict health guidelines, but they can have some sales while meeting that standard. Here’s why:
One: Everyone is crowding big-box retailers. I wish this wasn’t true, but we know not everyone is just buying groceries or medical supplies. That’s just a reality. If we can allow Mississippi small businesses to do sales in a safe way, we can get some of those people out of the Walmart. We can spread out more. We can make people more safe.
Two: I have a fundamental problem with the government making it illegal for people to fend for themselves in a crisis like this. This situation truly goes against all of my instincts. I cannot sit by while Mississippians are driven into poverty, without doing everything in my power to give them some greater ability to take care of themselves. I wish I could open it all back up for everyone. I can’t do it without harming even more people. But we believe that we can safely do this. It’s not enough. But it’s a good faith step towards recovery, and I hope that you will take it as a lifeline and sign of hope.”
My promise to you is that our city team will continue to work hard alongside our Mayor and City Council to decide on hard decisions that affect us all and enforce those decisions. Thank you to the many businesses and residents who have complied over the past few weeks with our shelter in place orders. We also appreciate all who took the necessary precautions to wear a mask while out doing essential tasks. These are both critical components that we can do now to slow the spread of this virus.
On behalf of the city administration, we want you to stay safe, be well, and may God bless and protect us all. Together we will get through this.

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