Rush to shelter



The crush started at Walmart Thursday night as the community geared up for Gov. Tate Reeves' order to shelter in place until April 20.

The store was filled with people and sheriff’s deputies were called to enforce a one-person, one-buggy rule.

The lines had abated Friday morning with people going in the store through a walk-around.

Store officials would not comment on the move other than to say they were not allowing the store to fill up and would enforce a limited number of people in Clarksdale’s largest grocery store if they had to.

Rochelle Martin said she came to Walmart last night but turned around in the parking lot and waited until this morning.

“I think people got scared again,” said Martin. “I had my kids with me and so I turned around.”

Martin said she left the kids at home Friday morning and had a list.

“I got eggs, milk, bread and canned food and we eat a lot of rice,” Martin said. “They didn’t have a lot of meat but they did have cereal and I picked up enough to last me about a week.”

Martin said she does have family in Clarksdale and she will just ask them for help if the pantry gets low.

Banks around Clarksdale had line outs in the street Friday morning as people used the drive-thu to cash government subsidy checks that came on the first or disability checks that typically come on the third of the month.

Friday is traditionally a busy day for banks anyway.

But there was no crush at Rest Haven this morning as Paula Jackson geared up for the shelter-at-home order.

“We will only do carry outs now and you have to call ahead,” said Jackson. “We’ve been hit hard by this. People just are not coming out to eat.”

Jackson did say she is looking forward to the coronavirus scare getting over with.

“You try not to worry and you try not to be scared, but that’s not easy,” said Jackson.“But I know God is good every day and I have to have faith in Him.”

Governor Tate Reeves issued a shelter-in-place order Thursday that will go into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and could remain in effect until further notice.

The order strengthens the state mandate of no gatherings of more than 10 people and all restaurants must offer drive-thu, curbside or delivery service. The exact details can be found in Mississippi Executive Order 1463 and Mississippi Executive Order 1466.

Mayor Chuck Espy and Board of Supervisors President Johnny Newson had ordered a city-wide shutdown in the wake of the coronavirus being reported in Coahoma County on March 20.

In a sweeping move Espy said there would be no gatherings of more than 10 people in the city, his statement was echoed by Newson for the county.

“As of noon Thursday we are going to implement social distancing, the washing of hands and not allow gatherings of more than 10 people in one location,” said Espy. “That includes all spectrums, we’re talking about weddings, we’re talking about funerals and church gatherings.”

A proclamation issued by the city said this decision will be reviewed every 30 days. Espy said at the meeting the city and county would be updating it every two weeks and the emergency proclamation would last 45 days unless amended.

Espy said the city and county’s decision was based on guidelines from state and federal authorities.

Newson also urged people to stay home unless it was an emergency.

“We don’t want people to panic and there is no panic,” said Newson. “We do want people to wash their hands, stay home and keep social distance.”

Both the Clarksdale Board of Commissioners and the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors and other municipalities in the county have backed up the local measures with curfews from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. seven days a week or until the order is lifted.

Shelter in place

The highlights of Executive Orders 1463 and 1466 are:


• Non essential retails stores.

• Fitness centers and gyms.

• Dance studios.

• Clubs.

• Tattoo parlors.

• Spas, salons, barber shops.

• Amusement parks, parks, museums, playgrounds.

• Beaches, lakes, reservoirs.

• Movie theaters, bowling alleys and social clubs.


• Gather in groups larger than 10.

• Go shopping leisurely or in groups.

• Host events in your home larger than 10.

• Have group recreation outside (basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, etc.).

• Go to church, weddings, funerals or normal social gatherings.

• Visit friends and family, unless necessary.

• Visit hospitals, nursing home or other care facilities.


• Go to and from your place of business.

• Go to the grocery store.

• Go to medical appointments of hospitals in the event of an emergency.

• Pick up take-out food.

• Enjoy the outdoors, but abide by social distancing rules of 6-feet or more and no more than 10 in one spot.


Executive Order No. 1466 issued by Gov. Tate Reeves on April 1, 2020 and referencing Executive Order 1463 issued March 24.


Executive Order No. 1466 says 5 p.m. April 3, 2020 until 8 a.m. Monday, April 20, 2020.


These orders will be enforced by local sheriffs, police and fire departments and state police. Those violating these orders will first be asked to cease and desist, and failure to comply can result in arrest and/or a citation for disorderly conduct or other points of law as determined by the state.



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