Mississippi begins phase two of reopening

Restaurants and outdoor recreation areas included in phase two
Updated: May. 7, 2020 at 5:57 PM CDT
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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - Governor Tate Reeves’ phase two guidelines went into effect for Mississippi at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

Phase two allows restaurants to reopen their dining areas, but restaurants must follow regulations put out by the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC.

Some of the regulations are:

  • Before in-house dining can resume, the entire restaurant and bar must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom.
  • All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • Cloth masks must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that mask throughout their shift.
  • No more than 50% seating capacity in both indoor and outdoor dining areas, and floor plans must be updated to ensure at least six feet between each group. Party sizes will be limited to no more than six people per table.
  • Bars and bar areas that do no offer food services are to remain closed.

Owner of Memphis Barbecue Co. Melissa Cookston says they’re happy to allow customers back in.

"We will be operating at 50% capacity” said Cookston.

Cookston says they've been prepping to reopen by getting their employees masks and gloves and removing items from tables.

"We’ve taken all the condiments off the table, and providing individual condiments as far as barbecue sauces, salt and peppers, but we are sanitizing each and every table between service. We are even been passing UV lights over our tables,” said Cookston.

Just like employees, customers will also be screened upon entering.

As for outdoor recreation, gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people for indoor activities and a maximum of 20 people for outside activities.

Phase two does not green light beauty or tattoo parlors. Carl Boshers, owner of Illusion Ink Tattoos in Southaven, says he doesn’t know how much longer he can afford to stay closed.

"Things are opening up all around us, restaurants are at 50%, retail stores. Walmart’s packed wall to wall with people and we’re still closed down. There’s thousands of us out of work in the state of Mississippi, there thousands and thousands of us out of work in the state of Tennessee, what are we supposed to do?” said Boshers.

Beauty salons and barber shops were allowed to reopen in Tennessee but tattoo parlors were not given the green light.

As for Mississippi, Governor Reeves has yet to say when beauty and tattoo parlors will reopen.

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