To help combat the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Forrest and Lamar counties, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker has issued a new executive order that places further limits on restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and dance halls.
Executive Order 2020-14, which was issued by the mayor on Wednesday evening, goes into effect on Friday and is effective through August 17.
The order states the following:
• Bars, nightclubs, music venues and indoor entertainment venues must close by 10 p.m. daily.
• Restaurants must cease dine-in service, indoor and outdoor, at 10 p.m. daily, but restaurants can continue to operate drive-thru, curbside or delivery methods.
• Dance hall permits are suspended.
• Businesses must continue compliance with masks, social distancing, capacity limits and other requirements from previous orders.
Barker said Wednesday that both area hospitals are currently operating by their surge plans for intensive care unit space. Currently, the hospitals have 90 COVID-19 patients and 39 in the ICU.
Additionally, the Hattiesburg metro area has seen an increase in 772 new positive cases in the past 14 days, according to an email from Samantha McCain, chief communications officer for the city.
“From the beginning, we’ve stated that our three goals in response to COVID-19 are to protect our vulnerable, prevent the overrun of our health care system and prioritize public health while giving our private sector the room to operate creatively,” said Barker. “Right now, goals one and two are not being met, and we have a small window to make decisions that can change that trajectory for the better.”