To help ensure the health and safety of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lamar County Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed an emergency order - which includes fines or other punishments for violations - coinciding with the shelter-in-place order recently issued by Gov. Tate Reeves.
As with the governor's decree, Lamar County's order is in effect from 5 p.m. April 3 through 8 a.m. April 20, unless otherwise rescinded, modified or extended.
"The intent of the order is to locally implement the executive order of Governor Tate Reeves as well as outline additional measures to be taken with the county to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said in an email. "We're asking all citizens to take this seriously and abide by the order. Doing so will help save lives."
The order states that any gathering consisting of 10 or more people is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated in the county. Elected officials and department heads in the county will continue to operate their departments and offices with reduced personnel at their discretion, and are encouraged to operate their offices with minimal staffing. Those officials also are asked to perform duties online, rather than in person, whenever possible.
Only one entrance will be utilized for personnel and the public at county buildings, including Lamar County Circuit Court (back door), the Pete Gamble Chancery Courthouse (front door), Lamar County Justice Court (front door) and the Lamar County Administration Building (front door). The record room in the chancery clerk's office will be closed to the public from 8-10 a.m.
County courts will remain open, but white goods dropoffs - which are normally held on Saturdays - are suspended until further notice. Recreational facilities, including Optimist Park in Oak Grove, are closed, although the walking track at Wood Hinton Park will remain open. All community centers in the county will remain closed until April 19.
Pop-up restaurant vendors are be allowed in the county, but any participants must adhere to the 6-foot social distancing guideline recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Only drive-up or curbside takeout is allowed at those establishments, and the proprietors of those establishments are tasked with limiting the number of customers at any given time as appropriate.
Any county employee over the age of 60 or with an underlying health condition is allowed to report to their human resources manager and may be eligible for administrative leave.
Any law enforcement officer of the county is authorized to enforce any and all provisions of the order by issuing a post-arrest citation to violators. Any person convicted of violation any provisions can be punished by a fine of up to $500, incarceration of up to six months, or both, pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated 33-15-43.