ACT


COVID-19 March 26 Update


CITY ORDINANCES:

  • We have received many calls surrounding the executive order entered by the Governor on Tuesday pertaining to the ordinances some cities around the State have entered. 
  • In his press conference today, the Governor said that ordinances passed by cities are valid as long as they do not weaken the restrictions put in place by the Governor’s executive order. 
  • The Governor said it is acceptable for a city to pass an ordinance more restrictive than his order except as it pertains to those businesses deemed essential; they just cannot pass an ordinance that is less restrictive than his order. 

RESTAURANTS:

  • We have received many calls about the section of the Governor’s executive order that pertains to restaurants. The Governor’s office is telling us their intent in the order is for there to be no more than 10 people inside a restaurant at any given time (this includes employees of the restaurant) and that those 10 people must be sitting at least 6 feet apart. 
  • Many of you have called expressing confusion about what this order means. I will simply say that the Department of Health has not changed its recommendation that restaurants only provide drive through or carryout service.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDER:

  • If you have any questions regarding the meaning or interpretation of the Governor’s Executive Order, you can call the Governor’s office at 601-359-3150, or
  • Contact my office at 601-359-3300, and we will attempt to get clarification for you.
  • Because of the confusion surrounding the first order, we are told that the Governor plans to enter another executive order to clarify many of the questions surrounding the first order. 

TESTING FACILITIES: 

  • Many of you have asked why your area does not have a testing facility.  It is my understanding that someone in your area must come forward and volunteer to be a testing facility. 
  • The Department of Health (DOH) does not select the testing facilities. Once a facility says it is willing to be a test site, they need to notify their local EMA who will notify MEMA, and MEMA will work with DOH to set up the testing facility.  
  • The bottom line is that citizens need to find someone in their area who is willing to be a test facility. Per Dr. Dobbs, any clinic that wants to become a testing site is welcome to help administer the test. 
  • Also, any physician or nurse practitioner can administer the test regardless of where they may be located.
  • PLEASE NOTE – Free drive-thru testing facilities will be set up tomorrow in Desoto (Olive Branch) and Coahoma (Clarksdale) Counties to assist with the needs in those areas. 

PPE SUPPLIES:

  • More PPE supplies have been obtained which will allow a more aggressive response to fighting the virus. 

MORE AGGRESSIVE TESTING:

  • DOH plans to engage in a more aggressive approach to testing. This response will be modeled after what Singapore did. It involves an escalated effort to find cases and quarantine them. 
  • It also involves a more aggressive effort to identify and isolate those who have come into contact with those infected with the virus.
  • It also involves more aggressive outbreak identification at nursing homes, retirement homes, hospitals, etc. and isolating them away from the rest of the public. 
  • Finally, it will include plans for a community outbreak response. Obviously, there are different levels of transmission in different communities. In areas where there may be higher levels of cases, more aggressive actions will be taken in those areas where outbreaks occur which could involve shelter in place orders in areas where outbreaks occur. 

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS:

  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue.  These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster.
  • The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. 
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years.
  • Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. 
  • For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center by calling 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mailing [email protected].
  • Visit SBA.gov/disaster to learn more.

FEDERAL STIMULUS PACKAGE:

  • Late yesterday the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill.  The bill now heads to the U.S. House, which is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow. 
  • The bill is expected to include cash payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, with the payment amount declining and ultimately phasing out for those with larger incomes.
  • Per Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the payments are expected to go out starting in about three weeks. 
  • The bill is also expected to include about $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds, $100 billion in hospital assistance; $350 billion in small business assistance; and $500 billion assistance for corporations, including cruise lines and airlines. 
  • If this bill passes, it will not only help many of our businesses and citizens, it will give our legislature more help and guidance on how we should proceed.

UPDATE ON THE NUMBER OF CASES:

  • 108 new cases were reported yesterday. Total cases statewide now number 485. 
  • Unfortunately, we now have six deaths. All of the deaths have been people 60 years of age or older.
  • Four new counties reported cases yesterday – Benton, Lauderdale, Quitman, and Yalobusha.
  • Be aware – the State is now engaging in more aggressive testing. This more aggressive approach will result in more cases being discovered, but it will better help track and control the outbreak. 

THE LEGISLATURE:

  • The Mississippi Legislature has been advised by Dr. Dobbs that we should continue to abide by the 10-person limit rule. He believes it is just too soon for us to return to the Capitol and would like for us to give it more time before we return. 
  • Additionally, our financial analysts assure us that MEMA has access to sufficient funds to last them for the next 2-3 weeks. 
  • Therefore, there does not appear to be an urgency that requires us to return to the Capitol next week, so I have no plan to reconvene the Legislature on April 1.  My plan is to evaluate on a week-to-week basis. 

PROTECT YOURSELF:

  • You can learn more about how to take preventive steps against COVID-19 at http://HealthyMS.com/covid-19.
  • Dr. Dobbs advises you to not let your guard down. This virus is not going away, it is just starting to ramp up.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS:

  • Below you will find up-to date information on how to file an Unemployment Insurance claim through MDES. 
  • WIN Job Center information was added because the centers are now ready to assist the call center with taking claims and password/reset issues. 
  • We have also added an e-mail address, [email protected] as another resource for assistance. 
  • In the information below, there is a link ‘Find the nearest WIN Job Center’. When that link is clicked, it takes you to the MDES website for WIN Job Center information. There is a PDF map available that shows the location of the WIN Job Centers within the four local workforce development areas.
  • Unemployment insurance claims can be filed online or by calling 888-844-3577. Call center hours are 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. seven days a week. These hours will most likely be extended as the week progresses. 
  • If you are experiencing difficulty filing your Unemployment Insurance claim, you may contact MDES at [email protected] or contact your local WIN Job Center for assistance.
  • WIN Job Center lobbies are currently closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Contact a WIN Job Center by using the information below:
WIN Job Center Location Email Phone
Amory Job Center [email protected] 662-256-2618
Attala Job Center [email protected] 662-289-2535
Batesville Job Center [email protected] 662-563-7318 
Brookhaven Job Center [email protected] 601- 833- 3511  
Calhoun Job Center [email protected] 662-412-3170
Carthage Job Center [email protected] 601-267-9282
Clarksdale Job Center [email protected] 662-624-9001
Cleveland Job Center [email protected] 662-843-2704
Columbia Job Center [email protected] 601-736-2628
Corinth Job Center [email protected] 662-696-2336
DeSoto County Job Center [email protected] 662-280-6218
Forest Job Center [email protected] 601-469-2851
Greenville Job Center [email protected] 662-332-8101
Greenwood Job Center [email protected] 662-459-4600
Grenada Job Center [email protected] 662-226-2911
Gulfport Job Center [email protected] 228-897-6900
Hancock Job Center [email protected] 228-466-5425
Hattiesburg Job Center [email protected] 601- 584 -1202
Houston Job Center [email protected] 662- 407-1219
Indianola Job Center [email protected] 662- 887-2502
Iuka Job Center [email protected] 662-423-9231
Jackson Job Center [email protected] 601-321-7931 
Laurel Job Center [email protected] 601-399-4000
Lexington Job Center [email protected] 662-834-2426
Louisville Job Center [email protected] 662-773-5051
Madison County Job Center [email protected] 601-859-7609
Marshall Job Center [email protected] 662-838-3805
Mayhew Job Center [email protected] 662-243 -1751
McComb Job Center [email protected] 601-684-4421
Meridian Job Center [email protected] 601-553-9511
Natchez Job Center [email protected] 601-442-0243
New Albany Job Center [email protected] 662- 407-1226
Oxford Job Center [email protected] 662-236-7201
Pascagoula Job Center [email protected] 228-762-4713
Pearl Job Center [email protected] 601-321-5441
Picayune Job Center [email protected] 601-798-3472
Pontotoc Job Center [email protected] 662- 407-1226
Tate Job Center [email protected] 662-562-3351
Tupelo Job Center [email protected] 662-842-4371
Vicksburg Job Center [email protected] 601- 619 -2841
West Point Job Center [email protected] 662-243-2647

CALL IF YOU NEED HELP:

  • Phone calls to our office are being forwarded to our staff. If you need any help at all, please call us at 601-359-3300
  • We have also set up an email address for you to ask questions or seek help.  That address is [email protected].
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