Mississippi’s two largest cities – Jackson and Gulfport – are issuing orders for residents to stay at home in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Jackson, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba will make the announcement at a press conference later today. Hinds county has the most cases in the state at 90, which is about 10 percent of the total cases in Mississippi.

Mayor Billy Hewes is issuing a similar order for Gulfport. Hewes said this is necessary because too many people aren’t following limitations on gathering sizes. 

“This selfishness is unfair to those who have been acting in good faith, and has now put our community at risk,” Hewes told the Sun Herald.  “It is because of these activities that we are now forced to implement additional measures to protect the public. This is anything, but ‘business as usual.’”

Violators of the order in Gulfport can receive a $300 fine and/ or jail time.

Tupelo and Holly Springs have issued similar orders and on Tuesday Gov. Tate Reeves issued a lockdown order for residents in Lauderdale county because of a rapid rise in positive COVID-19 cases in the county, including an outbreak at a local nursing home.

What are stay at home orders?

Generally speaking, these orders close nonessential businesses and only allow residents to leave their home for specific, approved needs.

Under an order, you can still shop for groceries, pick up medications, pick up food from a restaurant, help family members in need, and exercise outdoors. 

Essential businesses include hospitals, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, child-care centers, as well as a variety of sectors such as utilities, transportation, and finance and banking.