Mayor orders bars in Jackson to close indoor service again amid COVID-19 pandemic
The mayor of Jackson is ordering all bars in the city to close to indoor guests in an effort to slow the continuing spread of coronavirus.
Bars that serve food will still be allowed to offer take-out, pickup and delivery service.
The executive order signed by Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba goes into effect midnight Tuesday. It will extend until Aug. 11.
“I am committed to addressing the challenges that COVID-19 has wrought for an important sector of our business community. Although we are faced with difficult choices, we will always prioritize saving lives," Lumumba said in a statement.
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Here are the key provisions of the order:
- All bars, nightclubs, lounges, taverns, and private clubs located in the city of Jackson shall close except to the extent that such establishments may only provide take-out, pick-up, delivery, or drive-through services as allowed by law.
- Bar tops and bar areas in all restaurants must also close to the public, but employees can continue to work behind bar tops and bar areas to make drinks to serve alcohol at tables, or make drinks to serve patrons that pull up in a car or appear curbside.
- Restaurants may continue to offer lawful sale of alcohol and in-house (indoor and outdoor) dining for food services pursuant to the limitations and applicable provisions of the order.
The order also limits social gatherings and activities at businesses that part of the executive order to a maximum of 10 individuals indoors and a maximum of 20 individuals outdoors.
The new order extends the mayor's previous order on July 2 which mandated face coverings for all residents and limited gatherings at public facilities.
The mayor first reopened bars on May 16. His order that applied to most businesses in the city came shortly after Gov. Tate Reeves eased restrictions on businesses at the state level. At the time, the mayor said he felt his hand was being forced by the easing of shelter-in-place orders by Reeves.
Since the reopenings, Mississippi has become one of several Southern states that have seen a rapid increase in new coronavirus cases.
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Hinds County, for example, has seen an explosion of new coronavirus cases in July, according to the state Department of Health. There were 2,152 reported positive cases on July 1. By the end of the month, there were 5,091 cases.
The county also has the highest death toll in the state as on Monday, with 106 deaths from COVID-19 reported. It also has the highest number of outbreaks at nursing homes. There have been 252 outbreaks with 47 deaths at those facilities as of Monday.