State and local leaders across the Mid-South are set to announce plans that will lift some elements of stay-at-home orders in an effort to revitalize the local economy that has been badly damaged by the coronavirus outbreak.NEW JERSEY ARREST ORGANIZER OF ‘REOPEN’ PROTEST
WREG reported that the reopening process will begin in Tennessee after a few benchmarks are reached.
Dr. Manoj Jain, a task force member and infectious disease specialist, told the station that some of the benchmarks will be a steady decline in cases and an improved testing capacity.
Coronavirus cases continue to increase in Tennessee’s Shelby County. The Commercial Appeal reported that the county has 1,807 official cases as of Monday morning and 38 deaths. The report said the state has seen 7,200 cases and 152 deaths.State and local officials in these areas are trying to find the right balancing act that protect citizens from another round of infections while allowing key businesses to reopen.
Darren Musselwhite, the mayor of Southaven, Tenn., told WREG that the city’s reopening will be a “phased approach.” He said gyms and restaurants will be allowed to open, as long as they respect social distancing guidelines and are under 33 percent occupancy.
He said he hopes to allow a 100 percent capacity by June 1.“All this will be contingent upon the governor giving us leniency,” he told the station.
Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has received requests from citizens and at least one local official to reopen the state immediately.
Rep. Bruce Griffey, a fellow Republican, reportedly informed Lee that he conducted a poll among his constituents and found that 55 percent favored the immediate reopening of the state.
Fox 17 reported that, like in other parts of the county, there were protests in cities across the state, like Nashville, calling on officials to reopen the economy. WVLT reported that the state’s unemployment office is receiving 30,000 calls per day.
The report, citing an official with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, said that the call volume is so high, that workers won’t put anyone on hold because it could take hours before someone picks up.
The official said on a typical week, the office processes about 15,000 payments, but this week the state is on track to make 175,000 payments.
Gov. Tate Reeves, the Mississippi Republican, told the Clarion Ledger on Friday that he will extend the statewide stay-at-home order for another week. Reeves said he wants to reopen the state, but “we need one more week to break the back of our enemy.”
“We are looking in the eyes of the greatest economic crisis in our memories,” he said, according to the paper. “Not because our economy failed like back in 2007 and 2008, but because of a deadly, contagious pandemic unleased from China.”
The paper pointed out that on Monday, businesses like clothing stores and florists will be able to do curbside pickups and delivery. He also removed the statewide order on beach closures and leave the decision to local officials.
“It’s a small thing, but I hope it helps even a bit for people who need to safely get out in the sun for their own sanity,” he told the paper. “We need to do anything we can to help address the growing depression, isolation and other mental health issues.