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Now is time to stay course through May 31

Dear Citizens, As the 2019-2020 academic year draws to an end, many of us are already wondering what will happen with our children in the fall as schools coast to coast announce plans to move to virtual classes.

Here in Natchez, Adams, will our children, teachers and staff be able to return to the classrooms in August? What about our economy?

Will we all be able to get back to work before the summer’s end and will our “new normal” be economically sustainable? The answers to those questions depend entirely on the personal choices that each of us makes starting now.

The virus will set the timetable unless we stop it. As Dr. Blane Mire has stated several times, the virus itself doesn’t move. People move and take the virus with them from person to person and surface to surface. The more we move, the more the virus gets around.

Our first local litmus test will come during the first two weeks of June. That is when we should begin to see the impact of our limited reopening of businesses on the local infection rate.

Therefore, during the critical weeks ahead, I call on each and every one of us to stay the course as outlined in our state and local orders and guidelines, which are currently in effect in Natchez through May 31. We must work together with trust, respect and determination to do the best we can for ourselves and each other.

Remember: The virus doesn’t care if we are sick and tired of it. If we do not act with care and caution, our activity may lead to a rise in cases, which could not only cause more suffering and death, but could also smother any economic gain and lead to a depression.

Please understand that this is the reason why we are still under both state and local stay home orders.

The governor’s executive orders are clear: 1) Residents are to “Stay at Home” except for “Essential Activities” or “Essential Travel” related to the health or safety of family or pets, obtaining food, services or supplies, work or outdoor exercise. 2) Vulnerable individuals are to shelter in place. 3) Social distancing (6-feet minimum) is required in public at all times. 4) Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

As you plan your business reopenings and your personal activities, please see the City of Natchez’s website for guidance, including COVID-19 regulations for restaurants & bars, salons, gyms and healthcare and medical services; City guidelines for essential businesses (grocery stores, hardware stores, pharmacies, dollar stores, other); city guidelines for funeral directors & cemeteries; City “Back to Business Guidelines” for nonessential retail and other businesses; the governor’s executive orders; the city’s Stay at Home resolutions; and the city’s newly revised Sidewalk Café ordinance.

Understand that this virus is extremely contagious, which is why everyone is required to wear a mask when entering a business. When we do reach our peak, the virus will be as contagious on the way “down the curve” as it was on the way up.

  • Choose to wear a mask to protect others
  • Sanitize and wash your hands
  • Avoid groups greater than 10 for any reason
  • Keep a minimum distance of 6 feet from others in public at all times
  • Stay home as much as possible

Thank you again for your courage, your patience and your selflessness during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. It is not over. Adams County still has one of the higher infection rates in the State of Mississippi. I urge you to do everything you can to keep yourself, your family, your friends and your entire community safe. Now is the time to stay the course through May 31 and most likely into the summer.

Darryl V. Grennell is mayor of the City of Natchez.