Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Governor Issues First Statewide "Shelter in Place" Order - What Does It Mean?

Today, Governor Tate Reeves issued the first state mandated “Shelter in Place” order for Lauderdale
County. Reeves indicated that while this was the first order implemented at the state level, it will not likely be the last. Health officials noted that while Lauderdale does not have the most COVID-19 cases in the state, data indicated that it may be a hot spot for the spread of the virus. The order is effective until April 14th.

A few local officials across the state have previously issued similar orders within their jurisdictions including the City of Tupelo. Winston County and immediately surrounding communities are not currently under such orders.

Should a “Shelter in Place” order become a reality, we wanted to address some issues and provide information to the public as to what it might entail.

The shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor includes the following: 

  • Individuals are to stay at home except for the limited allowances in the executive order.
  • When outside of their homes, people must follow social distancing guidelines by maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and avoid groups of 10 or more.
  • Evictions are suspended, though people are still required to pay any rent or make any mortgage payments.
  • All nonessential businesses are to stop all activities other than those necessary for minimum operations (e.g. payroll, health insurance, security) and enabling employees to work from home.
  • Social and other non-essential gatherings in groups of more than 10 people must be canceled or rescheduled.
  • Restaurants and bars may only remain open for drive-through, curbside, and/or delivery service.
  • People may leave their homes only to perform essential activities, such as caring for someone in the vulnerable population, getting food or necessary supplies, and working for an essential business.
  • Individual outdoor recreation is encouraged, but not group recreation or activities such as soccer or basketball games.

As “Shelter in Place” orders are implemented across the country, clarification as to enforcement,
allowed activities and essential businesses becomes part of the process. As this type of order is longer term in nature, a larger number of businesses can be deemed essential. While it is clear that healthcare, groceries and pharmacies are essential in such a crisis, other operations must be considered – from child care, car repair and manufacturing to hardware and feed stores.

Allowed activities would typically include but not necessarily limited to: grocery shopping, travel for medical care, child care, work, home and business repair work, tax preparation, assisting others in need, etc.

Businesses deemed as nonessential such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, health clubs, etc. would typically be closed to public activity.

Enforcement of a “Shelter in Place” order is also problematic. With many exceptions for work, medical care, grocery shopping, child care, legal requirements and social services – determining who might be in violation of such an order is difficult.

Whether or not a “Shelter in Place” order is in our community’s future and what that order might entail, common sense and following the guidelines provided by our healthcare professionals is still key:
  1. . If you are sick in any way – STAY HOME. Good advice under any circumstances but especially important now. You may be more vulnerable to the virus, you may spread whatever illness you may be suffering from and generating fear in those you are exposing yourself to.

2. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

3. If you do cough or sneeze – do so into your sleeve.

4. Don’t travel. Now is not the time for vacations or shopping trips.

5. Do not gather in groups – especially in groups in excess of 10.

6. If you are elderly or have significant health issues- STAY HOME and avoid social contact. Have a family member or other do your shopping and errands.

7. If you must visit a retailer for groceries/supplies, designate one family member to do so. Do not make this a family event! Don’t socialize, get what you need and leave. Sanitize when you go in and sanitize when you exit.

8. KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AT HOME and supervise them. There are too many reports of unsupervised kids in our stores.

Many people cannot self-isolate due to their jobs and responsibilities. Here are some things to do to protect yourself:


1. If you are vulnerable due to health issues or age – consider wearing a face mask and gloves.

2. Wash your hands on a regular basis.

3. Practice social distancing – keep a 6 foot distance if at all possible.

4. If someone enters your place of business who appears to be ill – ask them to return to their vehicle and deliver their goods or services to them there.

5. Clean surfaces that the public may come into contact with on a regular basis with a strong disinfectant.

6. Consider limiting your services to call-in or curbside if at all possible.


If you are ill or concerned that you may have symptoms of Corona:

1. If you feel you need medical care – call your health care provider. Do not go directly to the clinic or hospital. Our medical professionals have procedures in place to deal with every circumstance. They can provide instructions on exactly what to do and where to go.

2. Use the emergency room only for 911 type emergencies.

3. Self-isolate yourself. Use the same bed and bathroom throughout your illness.

4. Minimize contact with others in your household.

5. Limit contact with your pets. (others come into contact with them as well.)

6. Don’t share household items; utensils, towels, bedding, etc.

7. Throw used tissues into a lined trash can.

8. Disinfect your home regularly, especially high contact items such as phones, keyboards, remote controls, door knobs, etc.

9. Follow your doctor’s instructions religiously.


If you show symptoms of the virus or have been diagnosed with the virus- you should remain in quarantine until all of the following criteria is met:

· You exhibit no fever for 72 hours

· Other symptoms have abated

· At least 7 days since your first symptom

· After consulting with your doctor

Caretakers should follow the above rules as well


Symptoms of Corona virus include:

· Continual fever

· Shortness of breath

· Cough

· Possible chest pain

If you are young and healthy or simply have the attitude that the virus is not that serious and you’re willing to take your chances, that is your choice but consider that you may be a carrier of the virus that could affect your parents, grandparents, friends and coworkers.