Governor Tate Reeves
Governor Reeves decided to use the social media site, Facebook in an attempt to answer the public’s questions about the Coronavirus.
“I’ve got to tell you, there are a lot of questions out there. There are a lot of you thinking about this virus. That makes me very happy because it makes me understand that you’re not overreacting but you’re taking this threat very seriously,” said Reeves.
Reeves said the data indicates that the virus originated in Wuhan, China. Over the last few months, over 80,000 of those in that area have been diagnosed with the virus, and around 3,000 have passed away.
He said what Mississippi and the whole of the U.S. are trying to do is slow the spread of the virus. Mississippi had 21 confirmed cases at the time of this video.
“No action that we as a state government have taken, has been taken lightly,” said Reeves. He complimented Dr. Dobbs with the State Health Department and all the others who are working on this outbreak and our response to it.
Reeves took questions from viewers as they watched the Facebook Live question.
One viewer expressed concern about what schools are going to be doing over the next few weeks. She asked Gov. Reeves if there was any more direction on what would happen before the end of the school year.
“I have a call with many of the leaders of the Department of Education sometime tomorrow [Wednesday] and I’m hopeful after having that conversation we can make a decision as to what our recommendation will be regarding school next week,” said Reeves.
The original recommendation to schools was to close for one week. Reeves said that could be extended based on the recommendations of the Dept. of Health. He said his goal is to get an answer to students, teachers and parents as soon as possible.
Another viewer asked about decreasing food supplies. With many people taking to the stores and buying up an excess of supplies, some families cannot afford to do that at any given time.
Reeves said he spoke with President and Vice President and it was made very clear that the President had spoken with many CEO’s of large grocery store chains and they assured him they would not close.
“The one thing that won’t don’t need to happen is for individuals to stock up for six, seven or eight weeks because you’re taking away items from your fellow Mississippians that need them and can purchase them,” said Reeves.
His recommendation is that when you go to the grocery store, you buy the necessary items that you need for a week. He said if everyone will buy supplies weekly, then the next time you go back grocery stores will have the time to restock and prepare for the next week.
He said the only reason a grocery store might close down unexpectedly is to clean more often than usual.
“Will there be a bailout or aid for private small business owners?” asked another viewer. He added that there is no way small business owners could have prepared for the loss of business they’ll experience during this time.
Reeves said that is a question many small businesses are asking all across the state. He added that his family also owns a small business in Pearl Mississippi.
He said there are a few things that they can do, one of those is that at some point in the next 24-hours he will sign a declaration asking for small business administration loans. That is a declaration that must be approved by federal partners. He asked small business owners to contact their Emergency Management Personnel because the more data the state can gather on small businesses impacted by this drop in economic activity, the more likely the submission will be approved quickly.
He said that is one thing under existing law that the state can ask for and the federal government can provide. Reeves added that Congress are working very hard on legislation that will be helpful and the state legislature has passed legislation to protect state and local employees of government. That bill was passed Wednesday morning before the Senate left until April 1.
Reeves said they are encouraging Mississippians to eat out. Most restaurants are staying open and allowing take-out orders for guests.
Reeves put to bed any rumors that there is any plan to have a mandatory quarantine or the possibility of highways and interstates being shut down.
“We have a state full of people that are acting responsibly and practicing social distancing and many of our individuals are now working from home,” said Reeves. “There are no plans for a state mandated quarantine at all.”
Reeves assured the public that he will not make any decision that is not absolutely necessary to protect the citizens of Mississippi. He said everyone will have to make sacrifices in the short term, but that he is doing everything in his power to get this virus mitigated and protect citizens.
“In these challenging times we should pray for our fellow Mississippians, fellow Americans and people all around the world,” said Reeves.
To find out more about the questions answered by Governor Reeves, please check out the Facebook live video posted