City extends shutdown to May 11

By FLOYD INGRAM / THE PRESS REGISTER,

 

The City of Clarksdale is following Gov. Tate Reeves orders and voted this week to continue sheltering in place until May 11.

Mayor Chuck Espy reminded residents if they don’t have essential business to tend to, to stay off the streets and he reminded the city a curfew is still in place for the next two weeks.

City and county officials came down hard with emergency guidelines March 19 aimed at stopping the coronavirus from spreading in the community.

Mayor Chuck Espy led the city to enact a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m., stop gatherings of any kind over 10 people, close non-essential businesses and restrict travel. Espy’s lead was followed by Coahoma County Board of Supervisors President Johnny Newson who pushed through similar restrictions for the county.

Commissioners and the Mayor reviewed the shutdown order on April 13 and extended it. Monday’s action came after Gov. Reeves relaxed some shelter-in-place restrictions this past weekend.

While the city’s order does allow retails businesses to reopen with a maximum customer capacity of half the number of its fire marshal customer capacity, the city will continue to enforce social distancing and not allowing funerals, weddings, parties or churches to have more than 10 people in attendance.

The city and county’s declaration said police and sheriff’s deputies will enforce the curfew and move against loitering at gas stations, restaurants, clubs and bars and city parks or open spaces at any time.

The declarations do allow for people to go to the grocery store, seek medical care or go to and from work.

The order excludes senior city and county officials law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel.

Essential businesses allowed to remain open are medical facilities, including pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and emergency and medical transportation services; Grocery stores; Express delivery services, such as FedEx, but not including Postmates, UberEats and like food delivery services; and Security services, including those for non-essential businesses.

Espy went on to say he was not asking any business to close, but they should start some kind of delivery service or curbside service that prevents more than 10 people in any one spot.

Espy said those who think they may have the virus are being asked to contact their healthcare provider or doctor and not show up at the hospital. Espy said the hospital did have kits to test patients for the virus.

In other business:

• The city accept bids from MMC Materials for concrete at $132 and $136 per square yard for two different grades of concrete Monday.

The city will use the material to construct sidewalks on Madison Street and the price will carry for six months as the city seeks to rework curbs, gutters and drainage around the city.

Commissioners were updated on the city’s bond project with grants being sought to address drainage issues on Bloom, Sasse and Richie streets.

• The city also discussed anticipated sales tax revenue losses because of the COVID-19 shutdown and Mayor Chuck Espy said Clarksdale will probably not suffer greatly.

“We talked with people from MML (Mississippi Municipal League) and the Sales Tax Division of the State Revenue Department and they said municipalities that have a large number of quality of life activities, universities and other entities shutdown by the pandemic will suffer the most,” said Espy. “We don’t get casino money like the county and we hope we are not hit as hard,” he added. “Smaller and medium size town like us will not be hurt as much.”

Espy did tell commissioners that the effects of the shutdown on businesses would be felt in June sales tax receipts. Sales taxes collected in April are tabulated in May and the state sends municipalities their check in June.

• The city accepted bids for four junk vehicles and an air compressor.

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