Lumumba. Image: City of Jackson

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said today that restaurant and retail restrictions would likely relax for the city after his latest stay-at-home order expires next Friday, May 15.

In a specially called press conference, the mayor noted that Jackson, per capita, had a low number of cases and that city-lead measures such as purchased testing and a symptom collector to identify potential cases had been successful.

Still, he indicated that the decision to open now, per the data, was not wise.

“We can maintain (stay-at-home) measures, but it is of little effect if residents can go north, south, east and west to places open for congregation,” Mayor Lumumba said. He added that Governor Tate Reeve’s less restrictive measures issued this week have “tied our hands a bit.”

With suburban options opening in areas beyond Jackson limits, the mayor explained that Jackson is “an island” and that further restrictions could be punitive to the city’s businesses.

The announcement made today was aimed at giving businesses appropriate time to get supplies, notify employees and learn about guidelines which would be detailed by the city early next week.

Mayor Lumumba said employees of reopened restaurants and retail would be required to wear face masks and have sanitizers on hand. Customers may be asked to wear “a face covering,” noting a scarf or t-shirt may suffice.

The city is also currently reviewing regulations to allow barbershops and salons to take on customers, measures that would likely, at a minimum, require appointment-only based services.

“I want people to listen to what we know: this is a deadly virus that can take your loved ones,” the mayor said, urging personal responsibility. “The medical community, along with your leadership, is trying to understand better and put people in a safe condition.”

The mayor added words of caution: “If we see an increase in numbers that is alarming enough, we won’t hesitate to pull back and place those restrictions back on the city.”