COVID-19 related closings, changes in East Mississippi

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By state and city executive orders, employees and customers are required to wear face masks inside retail businesses in the city of Meridian and Lauderdale, Neshoba and Newton counties.

Here are some local businesses, organizations and events that have been affected by COVID-19. 

State of Mississippi

• An amended executive order issued May 8 allows barber shops, salons and gyms to reopen with restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those businesses must be deep-cleaned daily and customers must wait in their vehicles until their appointment time and be screened before entering. Chairs must be arranged to ensure 6 feet between customers and only one customer per employee is allowed in the salon at a time. Employees must be screened and those in contact with customers must wear masks and gloves. Customers must also wear masks unless it would interfere with a service they're receiving. Under the order, gyms must be deep-cleaned and may open at no more than 30% capacity. Employees in contact with customers must wear masks, and equipment and exercise classes must be arranged to keep six feet between customers.

Restaurant dining rooms and parks may open with restrictions. Restaurants must be deep-cleaned and disinfected and adhere a number of guidelines, inlcluding screening all employees daily, providing masks for employee, and reducing seating capacity by 50 percent.

An amended executive order issued May 12 requires businesses in Lauderdale, Neshoba, Newton and Jasper counties, among other requirements, to screen employees at the start of their shifts, require appropriate PPE when a distance of 6 feet cannot be kept and provide hand sanitizer. Employees are required to notify employers of any symptoms of COVID-19. For retail businesses in those counties, among other requirements, employees will be provided face masks and customers will be required to wear face masks.

Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people for indoor activities and a maximum of 20 people for outside activities.

Parks can open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for outdoor recreation

The governor's statewide "safer at home" order and amended orders are in effect until 8 a.m. May 25.

Evictions are prohibited during this time.

City of Meridian

• City of Meridian Under a city order, all businesses within the city must ask staff, customers and vendors to wear masks inside the building until further notice, Mayor Percy Bland said. 

• The city’s 9 p.m. to 6 a.m curfew is in effect until May 15. 

• Meridian Municipal Court resumed all court activities May 11, with the following restrictions:

–The court will allow only a set number of people into the courtroom at one time and they will be seated 6 feet apart.

–All persons entering the police department with have their temperature checked and no one with a fever of 99.5 or greater will be allowed into the building or into court.

–All persons entering the courtroom will be required to wear a mask.

–People summoned to court will remain outside of the Police Department until it is their turn to enter the courtroom.

For more information, call 601-485-1837.

• All playgrounds and basketball courts are closed. State and city parks have reopened to the public between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., effective Monday, May 11. 

• Daycares are allowed to open.

• Animal control: The city of Meridian’s animal shelter is closed for normal business hours for adoptions, owner surrenders, stray drop-offs and reclaims until further notice. Residents may call 601-485-1893 or 601-484-6845.

• Meridian-Lauderdale County Public Library has reopened. Hours are 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Closed on Saturday. 

• City of Meridian Parks and Recreation suspended all indoor recreational activities, including the Meridian Activity Center, Velma Young Community Center and the Dentzel Carousel.

Lauderdale County

• Recycling is suspended in the county until further notice.

• The Addressing Dept. is open.

• The Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau is closed. 

• The Agri-Center is closed for all events. 

• Animal Control – Owner surrenders/stray: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (appointments only); Adoptions: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

• The Permit Department is open.

• The Veteran’s Service office is open.

Education

• Mississippi State University-Meridian campus buildings are closed to comply with Gov. Tate Reeves' shelter-in-place order. More information may be found at www.msstate.edu/coronavirus.

• Meridian Community College is closed to comply with Gov. Tate Reeves' shelter-in-place order.  More information may be found at  http://meridiancc.biz/news/coronavirus-precautions.html.

• East Central Community College: Students and members of the public should not visit the campus or off-campus sites.  More information may be found at www.eccc.edu/coronavirus.

• East Mississippi Community College canceled all campus activities and events for the remainder of the semester. More information may be found at www.eastms.edu/coronavirus/index.html.

• The Mississippi State University Extension Service has canceled all face-to-face events, meetings and trainings through Aug. 1. The cancellation includes all scheduled Extension in-person conferences as well as 4-H youth programs on and off-campus. Extension offices and units, including the Bost Extension Center, the four regional Research and Extension Centers and each of Extension’s 82 county offices, will be closed to the public, with employee-only access until further notice. 

Lauderdale County School District announced Graduation plans, with make-up dates, as follows:

West Lauderdale: 8 p.m. on June 22 on the football field; make up date is 8 p.m. on July 9.

Northeast: 8 p.m. on June 23 on the football field; make up date is 8 p.m. on July 7

Clarkdale: 8 p.m. on June 25 on the football field; makeup date is 8 p.m. on July 6

Southeast: 8 p.m. on June 26 on the football field; makeup date is 8 p.m. on July 10.

Ceremonies for students with military obligations will be held at each school with specific details to be released by each school's administration. West Lauderdale: 10 a.m. on May 26; Northeast: 10 a.m. on May 27; Clarkdale: 10 a.m. on May 28; Southeast: 10 a.m. on May 29

HEALTH CARE FACILITIES

• Mississippi Department of Health states all non-essential surgeries, procedures and appointments, including dental appointments, must be rescheduled.

• East Mississippi State Hospital and the James T. Champion and Reginald P. White nursing facilities in Meridian suspended all off-campus visitors.

• All four Mississippi State Veterans Homes implemented a no-visitor policy.

• Bedford Care Centers, including its facility in Marion, are restricting visitors to all centers.  

• Bee Hive Home of Marion is on lock down and closed to outside visitors. Staff and residents are screened daily for COVID-19 virus.

• The Queen City Nursing Center is restricting visitors. 

• J.T. Champion Nursing Home is not accepting visitors.

Alliance Health Center in Meridian is open for services and is screening all individuals who enter the facility. All in-person visitation has been suspended (with limited critical exceptions). Alliance strongly encourages the use of electronic methods to stay connected with loved ones, including telemedicine, zoom and extended phone time. Community education programs may be canceled/postponed. Follow Alliance on Facebook for updates.

• Anderson Regional Medical Center: No visitors are allowed until further notice, with the following exceptions: laboring moms, spouse/partner, must remain with the patient from admit through discharge; pediatric hospital (including NICU); emergency and clinic patients, on parent/guardian per day, must be screened between 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; end of life situations, spouse/significant other and immediate family (two at a time); patients undergoing emergency surgery, one support person; Tom C. Maynor Rehab Center patients, one person for discharge training; clinic patients requiring assistance with entry into the clinic or ambulation inside the clinic will be assisted by a staff member.

• Rush Health Systems: No hospital visitors will be allowed until further notice, with the following exceptions. One visitor is allowed per day. Laboring moms - spouse/partner; Pediatric patients (including NICU) - parent/guardian (one per day); End of life situations - spouse/significant other/adult children; Patients undergoing emergency surgery - one support person. All essential visitors will be screened through temperature checks and appropriate questioning. • Patients with a visitor who we have deemed essential will be limited to one visitor per day. • Visitors should stay in the patient room for the duration of the visit. Clinic visitors • There should be NO visitors for clinic visits, except for pediatric visits with one parent/guardian.

• Meridian Medical Associates, PA is open and offering telehealth services, as well as phone service for those without an internet connection. Call (601) 553-2000 to schedule an appointment. Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. to noon.

• Internal Medicine Clinic of Meridian remains open for patients' appointmens, but is now offering tele-medicine/tele-health physician and nurse practitioner visits to their patients by using an audio/video internet connection. Patients that do not have this option can have a telephone consultation with their provider. To scheduled an appointment, call 601-483-5322.

• Deaconess Home Care has established protocols to deal with patients most at risk, or those suffering from COVD-19. Patients may be admitted 24/7. Contact: Shelley Whitehead, Deaconess Home Care, 334-590-0302 cell, 601-581-5066- deaconess office, 601-581-5074- deaconess fax, 601-653-9707- 24/7 efax.

 InTouch Health Philadelphia and Meridian locations are seeing medical and mental health patients daily. It is able to test for COVID-19. It is seeing patients over Zoom, in office, and in their cars curbside if needed. 601-781-8677 (Philadelphia) - 601-512-0927 (Meridian).

• The Urology Health Foundation's free prostate cancer screening scheduled in Livingston, Alabama on Saturday, April 11, has been postponed.

Mississippi Optometric Association reminds state residents that eye and vision emergencies should still be treated by your family eye doctor rather than emergency rooms. Examples of emergencies could include trauma to the eye, red eye, painful eye, flashes of light, floaters in vision, strange or sudden changes in vision, or the need to monitor a pre-existing condition. To locate a Doctor of Optometry near you, visit mseyes.com and click on Your Family Eye Doctor.

 BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS

• The East Mississippi Business Development Corporation has reopened.

• Bonita Lakes Mall hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Monday to Friday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Mall entry is limited to the front entrance. All customers must wear a mask and practice social distancing. Mall occupancy at any time will be limited to 65 customers. Groups are limited to 5 or less. Individuals 18 or under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Stores opening include: Reeds Jewelers, Journeys, Belk, American Eagle, Kirkland’s, Rainbow, Giorgio’s, Hibbett Sports, City Gear, Reeds Jewelers, Sports Addition, Finish Line, New Square and Shoe Dept. Encore. Americian Deli, Garden and Grill, Las Fuentes and Pretzel Twister will also open offering to-go orders. There is no seating in the Food Court.

At the Crossing, Ashley Furniture, Village Western Wear, Ollies, JoAnn, Cato’s and Tuesday Morning opened with varying hours.

• C Spire is voluntarily extending a waiver on late fees for consumer and business wireless customers through June 30 as part of its support of the FCC’s “Keep America Connected” program. The company will not terminate service or impose late fees for wireless customers who notify C-Spire of an inability to pay their bills on time due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. For more information, visit cspirecares.com.

Mississippi Arts Commission is postponing its spring minigrant round after prioritizing and distributing emergency federal funding for arts organizations across Mississippi. MAC Minigrants typically open May 1 with a deadline of June 1 and provide between $500-$1,000 for professional development opportunities to individual artists and eligible organizations. For more information, visit arts.ms.gov.

Wesley House Community Center, 1520 8th Ave., Meridian, has updated its services.

The center distributes family food bags, from 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays in front of the Wesley House for drive by and walk-up clients.

Travelers bags will be available from 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays.

People seeking bill pay assistance may apply online anytime by forwarding their information to andy@wesleyhousemeridian.org.

The Clothes Closet is closed until further notice and can not accept donations. 

The Wesley Hose pre-school will accept students as soon as the center determines it is safe to do so.

People wishing to make donations may call the front desk from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday at 601-485-4736 X 0, Monday-Thursday.

The Child Advocacy Center continues to work through its referrals. Those with questions may call 601-485-4736 X26

For assistance through the Sexual Assault Crisis Center, call the 24 hotline at 601-482-2828.

• Canopy Children's Solutions is offering to help families navigate different system of resources for free when they are faced with a family crisis, such as unemployment, food instability, utility assistance and mental health challenges.  For assistance, individuals can call 800-388-6247.

• Alcoholics Anonymous at 3573 19th St. is temporarily closed. For information on meetings or if you need to speak with someone, call 601-527-6669.

• Linda's Transportation & sitting service is closed until futher notice.

Aerus Electrolux, 1817 6th St., Meridian, sells in home wellness and house cleaning products including vacuums, bags, shampooers and floor buffers. Service and supplies for all vacuums. Air Purification with Active Pure Technology and HEPA Filtration. Call 601-485-2425 or 601-917-5885.

• Tractor Supply Company will be open  8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

• World of Flowers hours of operation are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday to Friday. 601-482-1767.

• Fitness Depot has hospital-grade, disinfectant free to the community at all of its locations. The cleaner is in 30-gallon barrels with self serve pumps, please just bring your own bottles to fill. Several clinics, nursing homes and medical are using the service. There are locations in Meridian, Laurel, Ellisville, Columbia and Picayune. There is also a barrel located at Dwelling Place Church in Collins.

• Crooked Letter is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Visit online at crookedletter.shop and via phone at 601-207-5072.

Weidmann's restaurant reopened its dining room.

Harvest Grill restaurant reopened its dining room.

• Mimmo's is open for curbside service.

• Jean’s is open at 820 22nd Avenue, Meridian, for takeout, curbside-delivery and delivery within 10 miles of downtown Meridian for orders over $45. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The phone number is 601-692-7042.

• NAS Meridian commanding officer has directed his employees to conduct distributed workforce protocol by teleworking from home. Other offices are reducing their workforce to half and tenant commands onboard the installation have their own procedures in place.

All visitors, without a military issued ID card, must complete a health questionnaire before being admitted.

Facilities closed: barber and beauty shop; Andrew Triplett Library;  Auto Hobby Shop; Subway and bowling located inside the McCain Recreation Center; Ponta Creek Community Recreation Complex including the office, paintball, retail/ticket sales and rentals; Fitness Center. 

The chapel has suspended services and will be conducting them online. The Protestant pastor and Catholic Chaplain remain on duty for all counseling services or religious needs for the military.

The Regional Counterdrug Training Academy has postponed all classes and is closed.

The NEX main store and NEX Mini-Mart have reopened following a deep cleaning procedure.

The branch health clinic and pharmacy remain opens but is screening patrons when they arrive for the safety of our healthcare providers. Dental and optometry are open to active-duty only. No exams or appointments for retirees.

The commissary is open but has implemented a 100-percent ID check. Only ID cardholders are admitted and no visitors are allowed at this time. The golf course will remain open only for people who would like to walk the course. 

• East Mississippi Realtors office is closed.

• Mississippi Department of Health recommends all restaurants close their dine-in facilities. It also recommends state residents avoid attending funerals, weddings or any event of more than 10 people.

• Community Bank is restricting lobby access at its locations. Digital banking is encouraged. The staff is available in the lobby by appointment.

• The Citizens Bank will not be open on Saturday, May 16 and 23.

• The Meridian Star business office is closed to walk-ins. Our office will still be open and we will able to assist you by phone 601-693-1551 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. In person appointments may be made by calling in advance.

• The Mississippi Children’s Museum has temporarily closed the Jackson facility to children and families.

• Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal government officials and Pearl River Resort Executive leaders temporarily closed all Pearl River Resort properties. The Pearl River Resort properties impacted include: Silver Star Hotel and Casino, Golden Moon Hotel and Casino, Bok Homa Casino. Not affected by the closure are the Dancing Rabbit Golf Course, Dancing Rabbit Inn, Pearl River Graphics Printing and the Welcome Center.

Walmart expanding the availability of its pickup service. Each day from 7-8 a.m.  will be reserved for customers over the age of 60, as well as first responders, customers with disabilities and anyone designated high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pickup their Walmart order curbside and contact-free.

• Winn-Dixie designated 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday to Friday as special hours for seniors and high-risk customers. 

• Social Security offices are closed to the public for in-person service.  Phone service is available 1-800-772-1213 or www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.

• AARP Tax-Aide programs that were scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays have been suspended. 

• The Mississippi Museum of Art galleries are closed. The gardens will remain open.

• EMEPA offices are closed to walk-ins; drive-up windows remain open.

• Dixie Electric Power Association closed its lobbies, but drive-through windows at all three locations will continue to remain open.  Any current or future Dixie Electric member who needs to start or stop service can call (601) 425-2535 to handle those needs over the phone or make an appointment.

• Rotary Club of Meridian suspended its weekly Wednesday meetings.

• The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi suspended visitors to the PERS building.

• The Meridian Activity Center suspended all scheduled classes and activities. 

PUBLIC SERVICE

• The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department asks anyone who has flu-like symptoms or who is under quarantine or self-quarantine to notify dispatchers so first-responders will prepared when they answer your call.

• The Lauderdale County Detention Facility suspended visitations.

• Mississippi Department of Public Safety: All driver’s license stations are closed to the public, except for the nine Mississippi Highway Patrol district troop stations across the state. The troop stations will provide only the following services: sex offender registry transactions, commercial driver’s license card renewals (no testing) and commercial driver’s license medical card updates. Visit www.dps.ms.gov for certain online transactions such as regular driver’s license renewals.

• Meridian Police Department and Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department are not currently issuing citations for expired drivers licenses. 

• Mississippi Department of Corrections suspended the transfers of inmates from all county jails to MDOC custody. Visitation at all facilities suspended.

• Kemper Regional Correctional Facility: suspended all visitation.

Keesler Air Force Base: Retirees are limited to shopping at the base grocery and shopping center on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, all day. The other days are reserved for operations critical members and their immediate family members, as well as airmen who are in training.

EVENTS

• US 11 Antique Alley Yard Sale scheduled May 14-17 has been canceled along the East Mississippi and West Alabama section due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions. Mississippi organizers do not have information about other portions of the sale that annually runs from Meridian to Briston, Va. The planned 2021 dates are May 13-16. 

• Lauderdale County Memorial Day Ceremony scheduled May 25 at the county courthouse is canceled.

• State Games of Mississippi Opening Ceremonies are canceled but some competition will be scheduled through the summer.

• The Mississippi Republican Party’s state convention, originally scheduled for May 15 and 16, has been postponed.  

• The Knights of Columbus, following a directive from the Mississippi Gaming Commission due to COVID-19, suspended Wednesday night bingo until further notice.

• Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum is closed. 

• The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience (The MAX) is closed. For additional information, email, aaron@msarts.org or call 601-255-4845 ext 0 and leave a message.

• Meridian Little Theatre’s “Murder on the Menu” Dinner Theatre has been rescheduled to May 28, 29 and 30.

• The MSU Riley Center postponed spring shows. For new dates, check www.msurileycenter.com.  

• At the Temple Theater,  The Price is Right Live has been postponed until Jan. 24. For other rescheduled dates, watch  https://templetheater.wordpress.com.

FOOD ASSISTANCE

• The Lauderdale County School District is providing free to-go breakfast and lunch for children up to 18 years old. Children do not have to be a Lauderdale County student but must be present to claim their meal. No identification is required. Meals are distributed 11 a.m - 1 p.m. Monday - Friday at Clarkdale Attendance Center; Southeast High Northeast Elementary and West Lauderdale Middle. Children should remain in the vehicle and no admittance into the school is allowed. All meals must be consumed off-site. 

Through May 22, The East Mississippi HUB for Volunteers and Nonprofits is providing volunteers from local churches to deliver meals to students in the Lauderdale County School District. The district has been offering to-go meals at its schools, but in rural areas of the county, some families face barriers in traveling to the distribution sites.

• The Meridian Public School District and The Boys and Girls Club offer grab and go lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club at 1717 45th Ave. and the Boys and Girls Club at Velma Young Park, 1530 24th St. All children 18 and under can receive a lunch at no cost. Children must be present to receive a meal.

• The Enterprise School District is providing meal pick-up from 11 a.m. - noon at the high school cafeteria for any student 18 years of age or younger.

• The Newton Municipal School District the district is begin offering breakfast and lunch to children ages 0-18. The bus route schedules will remain the same. Meals will be provided only on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at Newton Elementary School from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  That will be the only cafeteria open to the community.

 • The Union Public School District offers to-go meals, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Union High School. The meals are free for anyone 18 years old and younger, including infants and toddlers. Children must be present to receive a meal. Adult meals are $3.50 (cash only). The district is delivering meals at the following times and locations: 10:30 a.m. at North Street Apartments and County Line Baptist Church; 11 a.m. at Evans Tabernacle; 11:15 a.m. at Emmanuel Baptist Church and 11:30 a.m. at Neshoba Baptist Church.  

• The Philadelphia Public School District offers free to-go meals for any child 18 years and younger at the Philadelphia High School cafeteria. Children must be present to receive a meal. Adults may purchase a meal for $3.75, cash only. Breakfast is available from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and lunch is available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• Choctaw Tribal Schools students can pick up drive-thru lunches from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at their respective schools.

• The Quitman School District is using only the high school cafeteria as its meal pickup area. Meal pickup will be Monday - Wednesday only.  

• Wesley House Community Center distributes family food bags from 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays in front of the Wesley House, 1520 8th Ave., Meridian, for drive by and walk-up clients.

• Cash Saver on Frontage Road in Meridian is offering free breakfast and sack lunches to children. Breakfast can be picked up from 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., and lunch is served from 1-2 p.m. The child must be present to receive a meal, and there is a one meal per child limit.

• L.O.V.E.’s Kitchen at 801 18th Ave. South serves lunch 11 a.m. - noon Monday - Saturday.

• Feed by Faith at 3401 Fifth St. serves lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday & Friday. The dining area is closed to the public.

If you have a business, organization or event affected by COVID-19, please email editor@themeridianstar.com.   

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