Picayune and Poplarville issue shelter at home orders
Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Picayune and Poplarville passed safer-at-home orders Wednesday telling residents to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Picayune’s order includes a curfew that begins at 11 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m.
COVID-19 Executive Order No. 3, issued by Picayune City Manager Jim Luke, notes that Picayune is within an hour of New Orleans, which has reported more than 1,800 COVID-19 cases. The order also notes that regional healthcare facilities are at “significant risk” of becoming overwhelmed, which could prevent people with COVID-19 from accessing the care they need. The order also states that numerous businesses and individuals have “selfishly refused to comply,” with CDC guidelines.
The Poplarville Board of Aldermen approved a safer at home mandate Wednesday that asks city residents to stay at home, except for traveling to and from workplaces or businesses deemed essential or traveling for self-care or family care. The mandate is Executive Order 003 from Poplarville’s Mayor Rossie Creel. The Board also approved the two previous executive orders issued by the Mayor.
In Picayune, residents are also ordered to restrict movement around the city to traveling to and from work and to accessing or performing, essential services like food service, medical services, social and government services, law enforcement services, emergency services, caring for household members or pets, complying with court orders or engaging in personal recreation like fishing, jogging or bicycling.
In Picayune, the curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. does not apply to public safety officers, people working for law enforcement or state and local government, staff employed by a hospital, urgent care, medical clinic or medical laboratory who are traveling to or from work, people going to or from work at essential businesses or those who are actively providing services as part of an essential business and people who are driving along I-59 or Highway 11 and do not stop in the city.
Picayune’s order requires all businesses not considered essential to close and suspend operations. This includes spas, exercise studios, fitness centers and facilities, health clubs, cross training gyms and gyms in the city. Poplarville already required exercise studios and fitness centers to close.
The Picayune order makes it clear that restaurants, bars and dining establishments cannot provide any in-house, on-premise, dine-in services or available public sitting areas, including outdoors. Only curbside, take-out, delivery and drive-thru service is allowed for restaurants. Poplarville’s previous orders had the same restaurant limitations.
The Poplarville order requires businesses defined as essential by the Governor’s Executive Order 1463 to immediately implement a plan to limit the number of patrons inside of their establishment at any given time. However, no specific number is outlined in the order. Creel said the order did not specify a number because the city only has two grocery stores and does not want to burden those businesses or cause them to close. Essential businesses are also told to provide at least six feet of space between customers in and around checkout lines and to discourage clusters of customers.
The Picayune order also requires businesses with a large customer base, like retail stores, plasma centers or home improvement stores, to keep customers six feet apart. The Picayune order goes further to require those types of businesses to offer or provide customers a hand sanitizer or disinfectant.
Picayune’s order states that hotels or businesses that provide temporary lodging are required not to exceed the bed capacity of a room or facility, so if a hotel room has two beds, only two people can stay in the room.
In both orders, people using outdoor spaces are told to maintain six feet of distance between each other and to avoid gatherings of more than 10. Creel wanted to make clear that people are allowed spend time outdoors to go fishing or take walks, but are discouraged from gathering outdoors or spending time where there are large numbers of people. Public parks and outdoor spaces in Picayune will remain open on a limited basis except for Friendship Park, which is closed.
Educational institutions are allowed to remain open to provide distance learning, meals to students and for essential operations.
Luke’s order states businesses that are not considered essential should take steps to allow their employees to work remotely and to have as few staff on their premises as are needed. Essential businesses are also told to adhere to CDC guidelines for social distancing, hand washing and avoiding gatherings of people.
Essential businesses in the Picayune order include, but are not limited to, healthcare clinics and facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, and retail food service, law enforcement and public transportation, social service workers, home based caregivers, farm workers, utility industries, critical manufacturing employees, postal workers, communications and information technology employees, government employees, building supply and repair businesses, vehicle support businesses, banking institutions, legal businesses, real estate businesses and residential and commercial construction.
Read the Orders