Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite this week came out with a statement from his “Mayor’s Report” blog on the city’s website titled, “It’s Time.”
Musselwhite, leader of Mississippi’s third-largest city, commended Gov. Tate Reeves for relaxing some of the limitations in amending the Safer At Home Executive Order, effective Thursday, May 7.
However, in his statement, Musselwhite urged Reeves to make more efforts to open communities back up.
“I will continue to plead with him to have a broader re-opening and communicated long-term plan or either allow us to implement our own plan,” Musselwhite said. “We have a detailed plan for recovery in Southaven that I am very confident will bring us back gradually, very cautiously, and effectively.”
The new moves allow in-restaurant dining at 50 percent capacity, no more than six people at tables and social distancing between all persons where practical. Bar areas are still closed unless serving food, no live music, masks mandatory for servers, and other measures.
The new moves also allow for some outdoor sports activities with limits on the numbers of those taking part. Southaven Parks and Recreation will begin recreational baseball and softball practices May 18 at Snowden Grove and Greenbrook parks with a full season of games starting June 1-July 31. Other moves involve when volleyball can start, soccer practice starting May 16, playgrounds, and Forever Young activities resuming on June 1.
Still closed for now are barbershops and hair salons and owners of those businesses in Southaven made their displeasure known at Tuesday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting.
They feel they are being discriminated against, are close to losing their properties, and Reeves’ action to keep them closed is not fair.
Musselwhite said he supports them and wants to see them re-open, pledging all he could do to help get them operating again. He added that he would like to see Southaven excluded from some of the restrictions and said he’d also like to see tattoo parlors operating again.
In his blog posting, Musselwhite used statistics from May 5 to indicate where DeSoto County stands in the fight against COVID-19.
As of that date, of about 185,000 county residents, the 308 cases and four deaths both equal less than one percent of the population.
“Our COVID-19 hospitalization rate in Southaven has decreased 83 percent since April 1 and capacity has never been challenged at any time throughout this crisis,” Musselwhite wrote.
While each case and each death is serious, the Southaven mayor said what was warned to happen has not occurred in the city.
“It’s time that we come out of our bunker and fight for our way of life again!” wrote Musselwhite. “All of our businesses, churches, other organizations, and individual citizens need their government to get out of their way now and deserve a chance to prosper again in the face of new challenges!”