COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that causes flu-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms of fever, coughing, fatigue and difficulty breathing. The CDC and MSDH are working to detect, contain and limit the spread of cases in the U.S. and Mississippi should they occur. MSDH is actively planning with doctors and hospitals on how to respond safely and effectively to any case of COVID-19 in Mississippi.
What you need to know about COVID-19:
- It was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019.
- It is not currently widespread in the United States, and the risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is low.
- Currently, there are no travel advisories or restrictions for any location in the United States, including the State of Mississippi.
- It is important that we all know the facts to avoid misinformation and unnecessary panic.
Mississippi Tourism Association encourages all travelers, no matter their destination, to take the precautions suggested by health experts.
Healthy Travel Habits:
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
The latest information from health experts regarding COVID-19 can be found on these websites:
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Sign Up for CDC.gov Email Updates
- Mississippi State Department of Health
- U.S. Travel Association
Coronavirus Hotline: The Mississippi State Department of Health is now operating a hotline for convenient answers to questions about COVID-19 by phone. Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday): 877-978-6453
Posters to display examples:
05/04/2020 – Governor Tate Reeves announced Monday he amended his Safer at Home order, which opened some businesses to the public.
The Safer at Home order still remains in effect until Monday, May 11.
“I don’t want to wait if there are steps that we believe we can safely take now to ease the burden on Mississippians fighting this virus,” Reeves said. “There are thousands around the state that are set to close their doors for good. They cannot hold on much longer. I hope that this will not only be some much-needed relief for those restaurant employees but also provide for some joy for the people of Mississippi.”
The new guidelines, listed below, also apply to outdoor recreation. The new guidelines go into effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 7, and will expire at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 11.
The executive order can be viewed in full here.
Resources for Partners
- Infection Prevention: Hospitality
- Infection Prevention: Restaurants
- Food & Beverage Industry
- American Hotel & Lodging Association
- National Restaurant Association
- Destinations International
- MTA Free Tourism Webinars
- COVID-19 Marketing Response – Planning Webinar Presentation
Small Business Resources
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application Process Now Open
The Paycheck Protection Program has information posted but banks will not start accepting applications until April 3, at the earliest.
- U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Disaster Relief Loans
- Mississippi Humanities Council is launching an emergency grant program to help support cultural organizations that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis with funding from Congress through the CARES Act. These CARES Emergency Grants will provide unrestricted operational expenses up to $20,000 for humanities-focused cultural nonprofit organizations in Mississippi for up to two months. During the COVID-19 crisis, state humanities councils are uniquely positioned to provide emergency CARES Act funding to museums, historic sites, and other nonprofit organizations affected by the pandemic. The humanities councils serve the smallest and most vulnerable communities and institutions and are able to reach areas that receive few other cultural resources. To meet this need, the National Endowment for the Humanities has distributed 40 percent of its national CARES Act appropriation, or $30 million, directly to the state councils to support grants to eligible entities for general operating support and humanities programming in direct response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Mississippi Humanities Council has received $460,000 to distribute through CARES Emergency Grants to help support payroll and other general operations expenses. Matching funds are not required with these emergency grants. More details, including grant guidelines and applications, are now available on the Humanities Council’s website: mshumanities.org. Starting April 22, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
- National Endowment for the Humanities Offers Emergency Relief Funding to Cultural Institutions Affected by Coronavirus.
Anchoring an $878 billion domestic creative economy, museums and historic sites are reporting losses of $1 billion a month as education programs, exhibitions, and other events have been canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress Recognized that nonprofit humanities organizations are an essential component of America’s economic and civic life by including in the CARES Act $75 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to sustain humanities organizations and preserve jobs. The NEH has released its funding guidelines and application process. $30 million has been allocated for state and jurisdictional humanities council to support local groups and educational programming. Those funds have been distributed and state and regional humanities councils should be posting information on how to apply for grants shortly.$45 million has been allocated for an emergency relief grants program, NEH CARES: Cultural Organizations, which will provide grants of up to $300,000 to cultural non-profits to support a range of humanities activities across the fields of education, preservation and access, public programming, digital humanities, and scholarly research. Funding may be used for short-term activities that emphasize retraining or hiring staff and to maintain or adapt critical programs during the pandemic. Eligible institutions include, museums, archives, libraries, historic sites, universities, and other educational institutions. The deadline to apply is May 11, 2020. Award notifications will be made by June 2020. Detailed information on the program and the application can be accessed here: https://www.neh.gov/program/
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is gathering information on the economic loss to small businesses throughout the state as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Process is to collect information so that Mississippi may request an Economic Injury Declaration from the Small Business Administration to aid in the economic loss suffered as a result of the COVID-19 event. After business owners complete the worksheets included below, they can submit them directly to the MEMA State Coordinating Officer Todd DeMuth at firstname.lastname@example.org., for inclusion into the SBA declaration request. The deadline to submit this information is April 1st.
Provided by Leake County Chamber of Commerce
- Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet for Business
- Instructions for Completing the “Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet for Business”
- Businesses are urged to go to The Small Business Administration website to see what types of assistance may be available and that they may be eligible for.
- Mississippi Unemployment Claims & Filing
Ways to File Your COVID-19 Claims
Unemployment Insurance benefits claims can be filed online by clicking here, or by calling 888-844-3577. The call center hours are 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. seven days a week. The hours will most likely will be extended as the week progresses.
If you are experiencing difficulty filing your Unemployment Insurance claim, you may contact MDES at CV19@mdes.ms.gov or contact your local WIN Job Center for assistance. WIN Job Center lobbies are currently closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Contact a WIN Job Center by using the location and phone numbers included here.
- We Will Travel Again Webinar Presented by Advance Travel & Tourism
- MTA eLearningU Webinars: (Use Coupon Code MTA)
CONNECT Webinars:5. How to Connect Arts, Culture, Heritage and Performance Experiences into the Current Travel Climate: May 27, 2020
Provided by MEMA
This list of Cancellations, Closures & Postponements will be constantly updated as provided by the individual communities:
- Casinos closed as of Monday, March 16 at midnight until further notice (Does not include casinos on tribal land.)
- Coastal Mississippi Event Changes
- Columbus, MS Spring Pilgrimage
- Double Decker Arts Festival, Oxford – Postponed to August 14-15
- Euro Auto Fest, Natchez
- Festival of Music 30th Season – all events, Natchez
- Grand Village of the Natchez Indians Powwow
- Greenwood Gravel Grind – Postponed to September 26
- Hal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade
- Hattiesburg Zoo, Lake Terrace Convention Center, Saenger Theater, and the African American Military Museum – Temporarily Closed until at-least March 31st
- Hattiesburg Cancellations
- Historic Natchez Tableaux
- Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale, MS
- Malco Theatres Temporarily Closing all Locations
- Mississippi Children’s Museum – Temporarily Closed
- Mississippi Main Street Event Cancellations
- Natchez Spring Pilgrimage
- Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival
- Royal Evening at Longwood
- Save the Hall Ball, Natchez
- Stanton Hall: Blues & Jaxx with Julep in Hand
- Vicksburg Pilgrimage – March 20-22 Cancelled
- Viking Half Marathon & 5K – Postponed Date – TBD
Executive Orders / Legislative Alerts
Summary of The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)
Provided by U.S. Travel Association
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)
Provided by MEC
Essential Business or Operations are established by Executive Order 1463
Provided by MEMA
Negotiations of Phase III of the coronavirus relief package are happening right now in Congress, with a critical vote expected TODAY. We need your help to make sure immediate financial support is included for the travel and tourism industry.
We have updated our Action Alert to include very specific recommendations that will better help our industry in this time of need. If you’ve previously sent a letter to Congress through this alert, YOU MAY DO SO AGAIN! We need as many advocates as possible to engage at this critical moment.
|Please take two minutes to submit this alert NOW and urge your industry colleagues and networks to do the same. Our industry is counting on it.|
Manager, Grassroots and PAC
U.S. Travel Association
Tell Your Senator to Fix the Coronavirus Relief Bill!
The House recently and overwhelmingly passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which was supported by the President. Given the unique nature and magnitude of this crisis, as well as the expedited timeframe, there is extremely limited opportunity to make changes to the legislation and the Senate is expected to vote on it as soon as later today (Monday).
The House bill admirably provides federal support to allow employers to offer paid leave to employees suffering from coronavirus. However, the mechanism to do so – with small businesses paying for it, and having to wait for a substantial timeframe to be reimbursed from the government, in the form of payroll tax credits – creates substantial challenges for restaurants that are already struggling to maintain cash-flow.
Ask your Senator to: Fix the coronavirus relief bill and immediately pass additional measures aimed at providing critical relief to restaurants!
Click the link below to email your Senators Now!