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Coronavirus in Hattiesburg: What you need to know Sunday

Hattiesburg American logo Hattiesburg American 3/22/2020 Ellen Ciurczak and Wilton Jackson, Hattiesburg American
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Mississippi has at least 207 reported cases of new coronavirus, according to the state Department of Health, with one death reported, as of Sunday.

Coronavirus image © Submitted Coronavirus image

The Mississippi State Department of Health on March 11 reported the state's first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus.

As of Sunday, Forrest County had 11 cases.

As of Sunday, the department had tested 1,321 people.

Barker shutters restaurants, bars, many businesses

  • Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker issued an executive order Saturday banning patrons at all restaurants and bars — allowing take-out, delivery or drive-thru food pick-up only.
  • He also banned any gatherings larger than 10 people, even at church or funerals.
  • Movie theaters, skating rinks and bowling alleys are closed.

Gov. Tate Reeves provides unemployment benefits

  • Reeves signed an executive order instructing the Mississippi Department of Employment Security  to expedite payments to unemployed Mississippians and relax collection requirements on employers.
  • One-week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits for all claims filed from March 8 to June 27 is waived and all work search requirements that normally must be met to receive benefits are suspended.
  • To relieve some of the pressure on employers, Reeves also suspended all collection activities, such as enrollment of liens and tax garnishments.

Mississippi Department of Health

Barker's move was partly in response to the state Department of Health issuing new restrictive recommendations late Friday:

  • Restaurant and bars suspend dine-in service but can still offer carry-out or delivery.
  • The suspensions not affect gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores and food marts.
  • Residents should not attend funerals, weddings, church services or other community, social events with more than 10 people.
  • This will be in effect for the foreseeable future.

Forrest County Supervisors

  • On the same day state health officials issued recommendations for bars and restaurants, Forrest County Supervisors voted unanimously to limit patrons at those establishments.
  • But now Board President David Hogan said those rules will have to be changed. He signed an executive order Saturday restricting all dine-in options at county restaurants and bars. 

Blood drive moves to Lake Terrace Convention Center

  • Sunday blood drive, noon to 6 p.m., Lake Terrace Convention Center
  • Blood drive 7 a.m. to noon, Monday,  the Orthopedic Institute, 27 Southern Pointe Parkway
  • Blood drive, 1-5 p.m. Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services, 2255 Broadway Drive

Lamar County Supervisors

  • Declared local state of emergency March 15, allowing the county to coordinate with other county governments as well as the state, and to access resources from the state and federal government.
  • Already asked for masks for first responders and Merit Health Wesley and Forrest General Hospital workers from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.  County administrator Jody Waits said there is not a shortage, but the masks will be needed in the future if the coronavirus continues.
  • Senior and community centers closed. County libraries too — online services available.
  • Supervisors will hold their regular bi-monthly meeting March 26 — asking that  departmental officials not attend so press and public can be seated 3 to 6 feet from each other.
  • County offices are open.

Event cancellations, postponements

  • Hattiesburg Arts Council Fine Arts Exhibit: William Baggett and Lynne Jodrell Baggett reception Saturday cancelled. William Baggett Coffee Talk, March 24, cancelled
  • Dixie Electric closed its three lobbies through March 23. Drive-thru windows will remain open.
  • RISE office closed until April 6.
  • Cotton Blues restaurant is temporarily closed, but will offer take-out meals for families of four.
  • Annual Downtown Crawfish Jam canceled.
  • Saenger Theater closed for all events and access until mid-April.
  • The African American Military History Museum at the Historic USO Club will temporarily close its doors to the public  through April 1.
  • Lake Terrace Convention Center closed all access and events through April 3rd. Hattiesburg Convention Commission and Area Development Partnership offices within the Convention Center will remain open. However, building  access is limited to these office spaces only. 
  • Live at Five events for April are canceled.
  • The third annual Habitat "FORE " Humanity Golf Tournament will be rescheduled for some time in May or June.
  • Gulf Wars 29 canceled. For refunds, contact the Exchequer at registration@GulfWars.org within 30 days. 
  • Spirit of Women's spring event, scheduled for April 9, featuring Purvis native and actress Lacy Chabert, has been postponed. Ticketholders are urged to keep tickets for the rescheduled event. 
  • The Downtown Hattiesburg Farmers Market will postpone its opening until further notice. 
  • The Area Development Partnership's annual Hubfest — scheduled for March 28 — canceled. 
  • Conference USA suspended all spring sports competition until further notice. Information regarding ticketing will be communicated as soon as it becomes available.
  • Visitation is suspended until further notice at Forrest County Jail and Forrest County Juvenile Detention Center.
  • The Area Development Partnership's Legislative Forum scheduled for March 23 is  canceled.
  • ADP's Business After Hours on March 26, and Accelerate on April 3 are canceled.

School closures

Gov. Tate Reeves ordered all public schools to close until April 17.

Contact Ellen Ciurczak at eciurczak@gannett.com. Follow @educellen on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Hattiesburg American: Coronavirus in Hattiesburg: What you need to know Sunday

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