COVID-19 in Mississippi: Breaking down essential vs. non-essential businesses

Essential vs. Non-Essential Businesses

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You’ve likely heard the phrase ‘essential businesses’ a lot in recent days. Governor Tate Reeves signed an executive order Tuesday detailing what those are.

MEMA put out this graphic showing several of the essential businesses.

But a look at the full executive order reveals that there are many more businesses considered “essential." The Governor said Monday that this was the reason for those definitions.

“To give clear guidance to our partners at the local level--should they decide to take additional action in their communities,” noted Governor Reeves.

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton made this note.

“He is making it clear that local governments cannot close or even limit any of these businesses,” Shelton said of the executive order.

Shelton’s believed the Governor’s Executive Order would supersede the city order and therefore amended the orders Tupelo originally put in place.

“You’ve got a very broad definition of essential businesses and absolutely no definitions of anything else," explained Shelton. “What the governor has done is that the city of Tupelo and no other city or county in the state can be more proactive than what he’s going to do.”

Many of you have asked specifically about workers at manufacturing facilities or large plants.

Manufacturing including food processing and production, pharmaceuticals, food additives, medical equipment, medical devices and supplies, technology, biotechnology, chemical products, telecommunications products, automotive production and suppliers, healthcare, energy, steel and steel products, fuel and petroleum exploration and production, lubricants, greases and engine oils, mining, national defense, sanitary and cleaning products, household products, personal care products, products used by any other Essential Business or Operation.
Executive Order 1463

By this definition, they are deemed “essential." Not only that, Section 1a seems to provide an exception to some of the guidelines like 10 or fewer and social distancing for those “essential businesses."

Section 1a seems to provide an exception to some of the guidelines like 10 or fewer and social distancing for those "essential businesses".
Section 1a seems to provide an exception to some of the guidelines like 10 or fewer and social distancing for those "essential businesses". (Source: WLBT)

However, both Toyota and Nissan have announced in recent days that they are temporarily halting production at their plants. But a confirmed COVID-19 case was reported at the Sanderson Farms McComb location.

“Those who are involved in the supply chain for food, they are considered essential operations by all governmental entities," explained Reeves. "So, there are certain areas where some things could not be avoided.”

Still, the Governor has made clear both in his briefings and in the order that all businesses should have employees work from home - if possible.

There are 19 bullet points listed in the executive order that define “essential” businesses. Each of those have multiple examples within it.

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