Horn Lake and Hernando city officials Monday followed what Southaven and Olive Branch did on Sunday with both cities declaring a civil emergency.
With Monday's actions, all four cities have added enforcement provisions to the emergency ordinances.
The Hernando ordinance did note that the city had declared a local emergency March 17 in an attempt to stop the coronavirus spread in the DeSoto County seat, but Monday’s action now makes it a civil emergency and puts the force of law into its provisions.
Mayor Tom Ferguson said that city residents, for the most part, have already followed the suggestions of health experts about refraining from gathering in larger numbers.
"Probably 95 percent of our residents have been complying with the Mississippi State Department of Health and we're very pleased," Ferguson said. "It's just that if someone does not, we can ask them to and now we can take action if needed. I hope we don't have to do that."
The following regulations have now been put into effect by the City of Hernando and will continue to be in effect until the City determines the danger of spreading the virus has passed.
Restaurants that offer dine-in services are now restricted to only curbside, drive-through or delivery. The interior and exterior seating areas are to be closed to service.
All businesses, organizations, clubs, places of worship, funeral homes or other gatherings inside the city limits are to adhere to the guidelines of no more than 10 people together and social distancing is to be observed. This also includes social gatherings. It exempts those activities considered “essential services.” The definition of essential services includes medical facilities, nursing homes, grocery stores, retirement centers, drug stores, pharmacies, gas stations, hardware stores, automotive repair centers, veterinary clinics and others involved in the distribution of products essential for the supply chain of vital supplies and services.
Violations are enforced by the police department and any violations are punishable by law. Fines of up to $500 can be levied to violators.
The measure passed on a 5-1 vote. Michael McLendon voted against it and Alderman Sonny Bryant was absent from the special meeting.
"Our citizens have been very compliant," Ferguson said. "I'm very pleased."
In Horn Lake, the emergency ordinance was approved on a unanimous vote of the Board of Aldermen. Effective at midnight on Tuesday, March 24, drive-through, curbside only, and delivery methods of food service are the only ones allowed. As in other locations, inside or outside table service is not allowed.
Similar restrictions of gathering in groups of more than 10 people are also included, such as places of worship, businesses, clubs, organizations, and such, the same restrictions as in other cities.
As in other cities, similar exemptions of locations deemed essential are also exempted in Horn Lake.
Violators are also subject to penalties as allowed by Mississippi state law.