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Aldermen follow suit with Reeves executive order

The city of Poplarville will follow the lead of Governor Tate Reeves order concerning adjusting sheltering in place regulations, which means that nonessential retail businesses in Poplarville will be able to offer curbside or delivery services.

Reeves’ shelter in place order is set to last until April 27. It is unclear if he will extend the shelter in place beyond that date. The Board amended the City of Poplarville’s Executive Order 003, stating that the rest of the order will remain in effect, except for any part that conflicts with Reeves’ revised shelter in place order 1473.

The Board discussed hazard pay for city employees once again, but took no action on the matter. Board member Anne Smith asked if the city could offer some sort of potential hazard pay depending on the federal government’s actions, but city attorney Manya Bryan recommended not discussing things that might happen.

Mayor Rossie Creel said that the federal government has not guaranteed that municipalities would be reimbursed for offering hazard pay to employees during COVID-19 and Board member Tony Smith noted that the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors ended the hazard pay it was offering its employees for working during COVID-19. The Board took no action on hazard pay.

The Board also discussed how the city can help small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Anne Smith said she would like to know how small businesses are doing, since the SBA ran out of the initial federal funds to offer loans and since a large portion of the city’s general fund is generated by sales tax.

Bryan suggested adding information about or links to resources such as the SBA and the county’s economic developer to the city website. The website can be found at https://www.poplarvillems.gov/

Creel asked Board members Tony Smith and Russell Miller for their perspectives as business owners.

Both men said they are fortunate to have businesses that were already equipped to offer carry out, but many other restaurant owners are struggling. Smith said he believes the best thing for small businesses would be for the city to open them back up, but understands that the local administration must wait on the state to do that.

Miller said he thinks the city should look at making outdoor dining allowed when possible.

The shelter-in-place orders still do not allow outdoor dining areas at restaurants—only curbside, take out or delivery. Smith said he has heard from the restaurant association that restaurants may be able to reopen dining rooms in early May.

For more on Tuesday’s meeting, see picayuneitem.com, or see Friday’s edition of the Item