COVID-19 Update
Governor Signs New Executive Order Extending Mississippi Unemployment Benefits

Due to the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday Governor Tate Reeves signed a new executive order extending and improving upon unemployment benefits. Though the Governor does understand the realities facing many Mississippians, he did continue to stress that “there is no real government replacement for a job”. He implored those who are offered an opportunity to return to work to take it.

The new executive order will waive the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits for all claims filed from March 8, 2020 to December 26, 2020. This is an extension from the original period which was supposed to end on June 27, 2020. The Governor also increased the $40 earning allowance to $200 for those collecting unemployment benefits for the period of May 3, 2020 to June 27, 2020. Additionally, the new order waives any interest on collection activities that have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic from April 1, 2020 to June 27, 2020.

These actions taken by Governor Reeves will go a long way to help those employers struggling during this time. See the link below for all provisions from this latest executive order.
Additional Guidelines Issued for 7 Counties

Over the last several days, Governor Reeves has hinted that he might issue more stricter guidelines for parts of Mississippi that have been identified as coronavirus “hot spots”. On Tuesday, the Governor announced more stringent social distancing measures for Attala, Leake, Scott, Jasper, Neshoba, Netwon and Lauderdale Counties.
Falling in line with Mississippi’s “Identify and Isolate” policy aimed stemming the spread of COVID-19, these counties must follow the guidelines below.

For all businesses: 

  • All businesses are expected to take every step necessary to implement the regulations, orders, and guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and encouraging sick employees to stay home.
  • 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.
  • Based on their duties and responsibilities, employees who are unable to maintain at least 6 feet distance from others must wear a face covering throughout their shift, such as a face mask. Their face coverings must be cleaned or replaced daily.
  • Hand sanitizer must be provided to all employees, which can include a hand rub or soap.

For retail businesses (in addition to measures above): 

  • Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that face covering throughout their shift and clean or replace daily.
  • All customers must wear a face covering while inside the retail business.
  • Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances, in or near bathrooms, and at cashier stations.
  • Retail businesses are expected to make all efforts to maintain a 6-foot distance between customers at all times.
  • Carts, baskets, and other similar surfaces touched by customers must be sanitized after each use. Other high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.

For people out in public:

  • Everyone must wear face coverings when attending outdoor public events, such as live auctions or flea markets.
  • People must maintain a 6-foot distance between themselves and others.
Mississippi State Legislature Hold Hearings on CARES Act Funds

A week before the Mississippi State Legislature is scheduled to resume the business of the 2020 regular session, they have been brought back to Jackson this week to hold hearings discussing how best to use the $1.25 billion federal relief funds. There is a tentative cease fire on the dispute between the executive and legislative branch over who controls these federal dollars. The Legislature is using this time to assess the needs of the state in areas such as: small business relief, unemployment, elections, education, counties and municipalities, etc. They have announced that they have begun drafting legislation that has resulted from some of these hearings, but no language has been made public at this time. The MMA staff is working closely with the Governor’s team and legislative leadership and will continue to update our members on relief efforts as they progress.
Mississippi Manufacturers Association │ 720 North President Street │ Jackson, MS 39202 │