Clarksdale businesses reopen from city shutdown

By FLOYD INGRAM/THE PRESS REGISTER,

 

Marty Eubanks has been cutting hair for 59 years but he said Monday may have been the busiest day of his life.

Marty’s Barber Shop is a fixture on East Second Street and customers lined up Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get their hair cut after the city shuttered all hair salons, barber shops, gyms and nail salons more than six weeks ago.

“They told us hair grows about three-quarters of an inch in six weeks,” Eubanks as he clipped hair in a mask and rubber gloves Tuesday. “I have stayed on my feet all day and I’ll just say it has been steady.”

Eubanks smiled and joked he had no idea how many heads he cut Monday and said it was non-stop from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and they were lined back up on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“They also said we had to follow all these rules,” said Eubanks. “I learned most of them in Barber College years ago. I’ve always kept my business and my equipment neat and clean.”

Governor Tate Reeves said in a Friday press conference reported on the Clarksdale Press Register’s website that his new Safer-At-Home plan would replace Shelter-In-Place and would once again allow people to go out in public, businesses to reopen and hopefully for things to get back to normal.

Executive Order No. 1480 does extend sanitation protocols for the public, require social distancing and quarantining those with the disease for another two weeks. The new Safer-At-Home order relaxes the requirements on businesses, specifically small businesses like hometown restaurants, retail stores, professional office buildings, medical centers and hotels.

"The human cost of another Great Depression is higher than the benefit of broad orders,” said Reeves. “As we work to re-open our economy, that is not a signal that the threat of the virus is gone. It is a shift in strategy because months of making it illegal for small businesses to operate is not sustainable. To the people of Mississippi: I am asking you—begging you—to exercise your personal responsibility."

Mayor Chuck Espy carried commissioners outside to enjoy a spring day and conduct city business at the Gazebo next to the Civic Auditorium Monday.

Order 1480 does allow gatherings of up to 20 people outdoors, but still prohibits more than 10 people in a single space. Businesses are only allowed to have half their fire marshal rated capacity and can be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The order also strongly suggests wearing masks, not going out unless you have to and to practice social distancing.

Of the federal requirements of President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen the economy is for the state and local governments to prove they are addressing contagion concerns.

The City of Clarksdale mailed out four masks to every house and post office box this week. In a special called meeting last week the board voted to buy 26,400 masks at .98-cents each from a Tennessee company.

The motion to buy the masks from Strong Mfg., was made by Ward 1 Alderman Bo Plunk and seconded by Ward 2 Alderman Ken Murphey in the city traditional rotation of voting. The bid was supported by Ward 3 Alderman Willie Turner and Ward 5 Alderman Ed Seals.

“The cloth masks are more comfortable and you can wash them and keep them for a longer period of time,” said Espy in promoting Strong’s mask over disposable paper masks.

The city also gave out pint bottles of hand sanitizer in mid-April. The city bought two drums of the aloe/alcohol hand sanitizer from Cathead distillery for $5,240 each. Approximately 1,100 bottles were handed out to residents.

 

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