Pearl River County Board extends emergency declaration

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Pearl River County’s Board of Supervisors renewed a COVID-19 emergency declaration for another 30 days and county services will continue to be provided over the phone and online.

The state of emergency originally declared in March had been renewed for 30 days and was set to end at the end of the week.

The Board also passed a motion to follow the Governor’s executive orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Tate Reeves was previously issuing executive orders once a week, but last week he issued two, one on Monday and another on Friday. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin recommended the Board pass the order to enable it to keep county restrictions up-to-date and consistent with state restrictions.

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Reeves’ Executive Order 1478 allowed restaurants to reopen dining rooms and parks to be reopened to the public. Executive Order 1480 extended the safer-at-home order until May 25 and allowed salons, barbershops and gyms to reopen. There are hygiene and social distancing restrictions for restaurants, parks, salons, barbershops and gyms.

Salons, barbershops and gyms have to deep clean daily, screen employees and customers for COVID-19 symptoms, train employees on sanitation and PPE, provide every employee with a face covering that is cleaned or changed daily, maintain six feet of separation between customers and clean hampers and linens daily.

Salons and barbershops must also ensure customers wear face coverings, require customers wait in their vehicle until their appointment, use a cape only once before cleaning and neck brushes are not allowed.

Gyms have to close by 10 p.m., can only allow up to 30 percent of the gym’s occupancy and the common areas other than locker rooms or bathrooms have to stay closed. Group classes are allowed.

Restaurants must also screen customers and employees for symptoms and provide face masks to employees who interact with customers. Parties of more than six people are not allowed and the restaurant cannot fill more than 50 percent of its seating capacity. Front of house high contact surfaces have to be sanitized every two hours.

Parks and outdoor pools can be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors. People are still required to practice social distancing by staying six feet apart.

County services will still be provided online and over the phone as much as possible. Circuit Clerk Nance Stokes said she does not believe that anyone has been turned away from the county services they have tried to access.

While the County Courthouse was thoroughly sprayed with disinfectant when the county began seeing COVID-19 cases, a deep cleaning of the facility has yet to take place, so Stokes said she does not believe it should be reopened to the public yet.

“You can’t get the wipes to wipe everything down, and if you open it back up, we can’t protect ourselves and our staff. We don’t have the supplies to do it,” said Stokes.

The courts are unable to summon a jury until June 15, due to an order issued by the Supreme Court, said Stokes.

In other business the Board:

—Approved a $20,000 grant the Poplarville-Pearl River County Airport received from the CARES Act.

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, May 20.