The City of Jackson announced today that a new set of regulations and recommendations will guide Jackson’s “slow open” of public places in the wake of COVID-19.

Those regulations – too numerous to list here – are detailed at and spell out increased sanitation measures, symptom checks and personal responsibility for both business owners and the clientele they serve. The new order goes into effect on May 16 at midnight for a two week period, subject to reevaluation.

“If we see a large spike in our numbers, we will be prepared without hesitation, to reimpose the measures that would have been previously implemented,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.

Based around what the city has dubbed the “Five Core Actions,” the minimum standards call for social distancing of six feet or more, increased cleaning and sanitation procedures, face coverings (which can be a mask or “garment of clothing”), hand washing and, where necessary for those in vulnerable populations, staying home.

Additional guidelines state that social settings and gatherings are limited to 10 people maximum and advise that citizens minimize non-essential travel and follow CDC guidelines regarding quarantine following travel.

Parks will reopen for walking and non-contact sports, but exercise equipment and playgrounds will remain off limits.

The Mayor also announced, beginning May 16 at midnight, there will be a citywide curfew in place from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. until further notice. The measure is to discourage “large, private gatherings.” The Mayor added, “there is little need unless you are leaving for essential purposes” (to be out after this hour).

Last week, Lumumba reluctantly announced the impending loosening of measures that had guided Jackson’s business and social practices. Reiterated today, the Mayor felt there was no choice but to test the waters.

“We have the governor’s order that has enabled businesses to open around us,” he said. “That brings the question as to whether efforts of social distancing is a notion or a reality. When you have the City of Jackson becoming an island where businesses and places of public gathering are open all around us, that places us in a position where there is little we can do to stop Jackson residents from going to (the suburbs). We are likely unable to continue our measures on an island. It also becomes a punitive measure to (our) businesses.”

Visit Jackson CEO Rickey Thigpen, who serves on a task force to reopen the city, said the city’s plan has been developed utilizing data and expertise from industry professionals who represent a cross-section of sectors.

“We have drafted a plan that keeps citizens and those that do business in Jackson safe and healthy, to help reopen businesses in Jackson in a thoughtful manner,” Thigpen said. “It is our goal that this plan not be just a flash-in-the-pan, but have the propensity to be effective in the long term. It provides resources and a support system that helps our business community be successful during this, our phase one of reopening.”

This is a developing story.