Governor Reeves Extends Safer At Home To Protect Public Health, Reopens Barbershops and Salons

Governor Reeves Extends Safer At Home To Protect Public Health, Reopens Barbershops and Salons

by Renae Eze, The Governor’s Office

During his press conference on Friday, May 8, 2020,  Governor Tate Reeves announced the next stage for Mississippi to continue safely reopening the state’s economy while protecting public health.
In a new executive order, Governor Reeves extends his Safer At Home Order for another two weeks until 8:00 AM on Monday, May 25 in an effort to continue flattening the curve while allowing Mississippians to get back to work safely. Consulting with our state health officials, the Governor also lays out strict social distancing guidelines and sanitation protocols for salons, barbershops, and gyms to begin reopening now to restore the livelihoods of the small businesses owners and their employees.
“The human cost of another Great Depression is higher than the benefit of broad orders. As we work to re-open our economy, that is not a signal that the threat of the virus is gone. It is a shift in strategy because months of making it illegal for small businesses to operate is not sustainable. To the people of Mississippi: I am asking you—begging you—to exercise your personal responsibility,” said Governor Tate Reeves.
Governor Reeves announced his new executive order at his daily press briefing today, which you can view on our Facebook page here.
In this latest executive order, the Governor lays out strict social distancing guidelines to begin the process of slowly and safely reopening salons, barbershops, and gyms, including:

SALONS & BARBERSHOPS:
For businesses:
Before they can reopen, the entire salon or barbershop must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom. After opening, salons and barbershops must be deep-cleaned daily.
All salons and barbershops are expected to take every step necessary to implement the regulations, orders, and guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances.
Minimizing person-to-person contact through technology, like mobile or online reservations and contact-less payment, is encouraged.
Salons and barbershops must post signage at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
Chairs are to be rearranged to ensure at least 6 feet between each customer and be sanitized after each use by a customer.
Only one customer per employee is allowed in the salon or barbershop at any given time.
For employees:
All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that face covering throughout their shift and clean or replace daily.
Employees must also wear disposable gloves and change them between customers, as well as wash their hands between every customer.
All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

For customers:
All waiting areas are to remain closed. Customers must wait in their vehicles until their appointment time and they are called for screening before entering.
Customers must sanitize their hands when entering and exiting.
Customers will be screened upon entry, including asking whether they have experienced any symptoms of COVID-19.
Customers must wear a face covering, such as a cloth mask, while inside at all times, unless they’re receiving a service that would be impeded by the covering.
Each customer must be draped with a clean cape, which are to be laundered after each use. A protective neck strip should also be placed around the neck of each customer getting a haircut.

GYMS:
For businesses:
Before they can reopen, the entire gym must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom. After opening, gyms must be deep-cleaned daily.
All gyms are expected to take every step necessary to implement the regulations, orders, and guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Gyms must close to the public by 10:00 PM each day.
In addition to other gym staff, there must be at least one employee onsite during hours of operation dedicated to wiping down equipment after each use.
All high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.
Exercise machines and equipment must be rearranged and.or deactivated to ensure at least 6 feet between customers.
Gyms must post signage at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances and throughout the gym floor.
All common areas must remain closed.

For employees:
All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that face covering throughout their shift and clean or replace daily.
All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Every employee on the gym floor must wear disposable gloves to be changed at least once an hour.

For customers:
No more than 30% of the gym’s maximum capacity. Gyms are encouraged to limit customers’ time to a max of 1 hour per day.
Classes or group exercises are allowed with customers maintaining a minimum of a 6-foot distance apart.
Customers must sanitize their hands when entering and exiting the gym and when they move between equipment.

Crime Cameras installed in Collins city limits to aid Police Department

    Collins Police Department Chief of Police Joey Ponder is pleased to announce that in April 2020 the Crime Cameras from the Project NOLA are up and running at multiple locations throughout the city limits of Collins.  The cameras will be monitored and record 24/7 and have the ability to pan, tilt, zoom, and record.

It is a real-time monitoring center at the Collins Police Department station.  These cameras will help the CPD get a leg up on crime prevention and deter crime.

2020 Okatoma Festival cancelled due to COVID-19

The Board of Directors of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce and the Okatoma Festival Committee have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Okatoma Festival that was set for Saturday, May 2, in Collins.  Due to the concern and precautionary measures being taken by the (CNN) US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and our state government agencies to control the spread of COVID-19, the Chamber wants to abide by their recommendation to cancel the Festival.  The health and safety of the chamber members, the entire community, and visitors remain the top priority.
According to Marie Shoemake, Executive Director of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce, the annual Festival is a homecoming that draws the citizens of the county together.  The Festival showcases the schools, churches, civic organizations, and promotes the “quality of life” that is enjoyed in Covington County.
The Chamber is making plans for the 2021 Okatoma Festival to be held Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Relief from the Storms

Covington County has begun the long process of cleaning up the debris left behind from two catastrophic tornadoes that devastated the county on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020.  The people of Covington County, however, are resilient and once again, as with other disasters, are working together to put their lives back together.
Local churches (even some that suffered damage) stepped up and immediately helped clear debris and then set up places where anyone in need can receive meals, clothing, supplies, and an encouraging word.  Organizations have come into the county with food and clothing as well as equipment to help clear the debris.  The Board of Supervisors, the Mayors, and the County and City Employees are working hard to get the cleanup done.  First Responders provided rescue and medical services, and are providing resources and aid to victims of the storm.  Some of those that are aiding people in need are themselves victims of the storms but want to assist in helping others.
The power companies, with the help of fellow power companies, have come in and have restored the power in almost all areas.  The water and gas companies are working to restore service to all customers that are able to receive the utilties.
While dealing with the horror of the storms, many people for a short while had forgotten about the Coronavirus.  This global COVID-19 pandemic adds to the difficulty in cleaning up the massive debris.  While cleaning up, people need to practice social distancing and think about how to slow the spread of the virus.
The strong people of Covington County are grateful to their fellow citizens and to the many people who have come from near and far to their aid, bringing with them food, supplies, and equipment as well as a helping hand.  Restoration is on its way.

Storms and Tornadoes sweep through Covington County Easter Sunday

Many homes and businesses destroyed in wake of storms; 11 fatalities reported in surrounding counties
A storm system ravaged through the Pine Belt Sunday afternoon, April 12, 2020, causing extensive damage in Covington County and the surrounding counties.  Two strong tornadoes ripped through the county with winds estimated to be in excess of 200 miles per hour, possibly EF4 or EF5s.
The first tornado traveled through Walthall, Lawrence, Jefferson Davis, Covington, Jones, Jasper, and Clarke counties.  The second tornado caused more damage in Walthall, Lawrence, Jefferson Davis and Covington Counties.
The power of the storms was evident by the damage to the homes, churches, farms, and businesses throughout the county.  The first tornado is reported to have been on the ground for more than 103 miles.
There have been no deaths in Covington County reported at press time  but there were injuries.  Eleven fatalities are confirmed in other counties.
More than 22,000 people in the Pine Belt area are without power and many without water.

Statement from the Mayor and Board of Aldermen

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen have been closely monitoring the developments related to the situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The public health and safety of our employees and the Citizens of Collins will always be our number one priority. The City has taken what we feel are a series of appropriate precautionary measures to protect the public health and safety of employees and the Citizens of Collins. Therefore, we will follow the guidelines from the President of the United States concerning the Coronavirus for America listed below:

Do Your Part to Slow the Spread of the Coronavirus

Avoid Social Gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.

Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts; however, use of drive- thru, pickup, or delivery options is highly encouraged.

Avoid Discretionary Travel, shopping trips, and social visits.

Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

Practice Good Hygiene:

Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.

Avoid touching your face.

Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.

Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

 

**This does not prohibit our citizens from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, restaurants,  gas stations, banks, parks, churches, nail salons and gyms so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Chamber Meeting features Rep. Michael Guest

 

 

 

 

A large crowd gathered in the Collins Civic Center to hear Representative Michael Guest, keynote speaker for the annual general membership meeting of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.   Everyone enjoyed a dinner provided by Shady Acres followed by recognition of guests by Chamber President Tommy Morgan.
Speaker Michael Guest, U.S. Congressman representing Mississippi’s Third Congressional District, was introduced by State Representative Noah Sanford.  Congressman Guest spoke about the low unemployment rate, the growth of lower and middle-income jobs, the strength of the stock market, and how Mississippi’s economy has benefited from a strong national economy.  He concentrated on 3 main areas of strength in Mississippi.
First he discussed the value of private businesses such as C-Spire, Sanderson Farms Poultry, and the Nissan and Toyota automobile manufacturing plants, which provide thousands of jobs to Mississippi workers and millions of dollars of revenue flowing through the hands of consumers, investors, and government.  He also told listeners that Amazon plans to build two distributions centers in Mississippi.
Second, he spoke about the benefits of having a strong National Guard presence in the state.  He informed Chamber members that Mississippi Guardsmen provided assistance in locating terrorist Al Baghdadi in Iraq, they are involved in helping protect U.S. airspace over Washington, D.C. and that Camp Shelby provides world-class training to military and National Guardsmen from all over the United States.
Third, he discussed  the military suppliers located in Mississippi such as Raytheon Corporation in Forrest  and Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula.  Raytheon serves as a hub for production and testing S-Band radar equipment, employs more than 800 people and produces radar for U.S. fighter jets, air-defense radar and other electronic warfare technology – some of which will be used by U.S. warships built at Ingall’s Shipyard.  Ingalls builds some of the world’s most modern and sophisticated warships in the world.  It  employs 11,500 employees, is the largest supplier of U.S. Navy surface combatants, and has built nearly 70 percent of the U.S. Navy fleet of warships.
He concluded by saying that, “In the United States, all men and women have the opportunity to work hard and achieve success”, and that we need to continue to strive to preserve our Republic.  The greatest threat to our Republic,  he said, is the growing rise of socialism.
Rep. Noah Sanford in his legislative report updated the crowd on events which have transpired so far in the 2020 legislative session, and said his focus was going to be on legislation to propose more funds to the Dept. of Corrections and for criminal justice reform, specifically legislation to require prisons to separate dangerous inmates from non-dangerous inmates.  He also said legislation has been proposed which would fund pay raises for State Employees and teachers.
Executive Director Marie Shoemake introduced Covington County’s Miss Hospitality for 2019, Larsen Sanford and Little Miss Hospitality Emma Grace Massey.  Larsen Sanford then presented Covington County’s Miss Hospitality for 2020, Laka Till to the members.  Chamber President Tommy Morgan presented closing remarks, thanked the members and guests for their help and participation and closed the meeting.

Black Heritage Celebration held in Collins

The 23rd annual Black Heritage Celebration of Covington County culminated with a parade on Saturday, February 22, 2020.  The theme “Remember the Struggle” was highlighted throughout the day.
Grand Marshals for the parade were Pastor Tony Duckworth, B. Joyce Barron Fairley (unable to attend), Lee Edward Gilliam, Coach Jeremy Jones, Markel “M.J.” McLaurin, Fenton Pope, Terry Price, and Peggy Weary.  Other honorees were charitable, educational and service organization award recipients.
The Battle of the Bands took place Saturday afternoon at Collins High School.
Residents came out to enjoy the celebration which included touring the heritage museum, live entertainment and much more.

Collins Rotary Club Paul Harris Recipients


The Collins Rotary Club recently recognized Paul Harris Fellowship recipients (pictured from left) Melinda Lott, Danny Frank McDonald and Patricia Speed.  This is a special honor for those Rotarians that chose to contribute to the Rotary Foundation and help international projects such as literacy, world hunger and other humanitarian efforts.  Pictured (far right) with the recipients is the newly elected club president-elect Josh Clayton.

LAKA TILL CROWNED COVINGTON COUNTY’S 2020 MISS HOSPITALITY

    Laka Till was crowned Covington County’s 2020 Miss Hospitality Friday, February 14, 2020, by Covington County’s 2019 Miss Hospitality, Larsen Sanford, at the Covington County Chamber of Commerce in Collins.
She is a 2019 graduate of Seminary High School and currently attends Pearl River Community College as a Medical Assistant/Nursing major.  She received the Hunter Atwood Memorial Award and the Citizenship Award.  She was the top female archery shooter and was part of the 2018 Homecoming Court.  She is the daughter of Chris and Shalinda Till.
Laka will take part in the 71st annual Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition July 17 and 18, 2020, in Hattiesburg.  This program was established in 1949 under Governor Fielding Wright and the Mississippi Legislature.  Throughout this time, the program has championed the state’s tourism and economic development sectors while supporting Mississippi’s best and brightest young women.  Contestants are eligible for more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes.
As Covington County’s Miss Hospitality, Laka will spend a week in Hattiesburg participating in the state competition and judging.  Contestants will be judged on a one-on-one interview, panel interview, Mississippi speech competition, community commercial, and evening gown.
This will be the 35th year for the Covington County Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the Covington County Miss Hospitality Scholarship Program.  On the local level, scholarships were provided by Jones College, William Carey University, the University of Southern Mississippi, and The News-Commercial.  Laka was awarded a full-academic scholarship to Jones College and a cash scholarship from The News-Commercial.