Suddenly, the Magnolia State reopening businesses last Sunday is turning out to be a very, very bad idea.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is reconsidering his plan to keep reversing his stay at home order after his state saw its largest spike in COVID-19 cases in one day following his first partial rollback.
“Things can change quickly,” the GOP governor said during a press briefing on Friday. “We have to stay flexible.”
Mississip State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, who was also present at the briefing, reported that there were 397 new cases in Mississippi, “the largest number of cases we’ve reported in a single day.”
Tate, who had issued an executive order that allowed some businesses to reopen effective April 24, told reporters that he had originally planned to announce more reopenings during the press conference, then changed his mind upon hearing about the sudden surge in cases.
“The increase was a large enough change to make me take a step back, reexamine things and must hold on and reconsider at least over the weekend,” the governor said. “Not to recklessly put people in harms way.”
Two dozen more states have already reopened or are expected to start reopening businesses in the next few weeks, including Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky locally.
Indiana is getting the jump on its neighbors, Ohio and Kentucky, when it comes to reopening restaurants. That’s good news for Steve Van Wassenhove.
“We miss the day to day,” said Van Wassenhove, owner of Willie’s Sports Café at Hidden Valley Lake. “It’s been extremely challenging at times, but extremely uplifting at times.”
Van Wassenhove said he and his staff didn’t expect to be back on the job so soon, getting ready for a May 11 reopening after Gov. Eric Holcomb gave the OK, even though they're limited to 50% capacity.
“We’ve heard from our customers. That’s what they want. They want to be back here, back to normal,” Van Wassenhove said.
“We want to make sure that everyone that comes here feels as safe as possible and we’re doing everything under the guidelines we can to reopen.”
That means setting tables and chairs a bit further apart.
“We’ve set up a floor plan to allow social distancing and allow our customers to be as safe as possible,” Van Wassenhove said.
Holcomb’s announcement came as a surprise, Van Wassenhove said.
“We were assuming right away we’d be closer to June. Our plans have always been to reopen as soon as we can to get our folks back in here,” he said.
Kentucky is also reopening construction and manufacturing plants on May 11, and Ohio's Mike DeWine is expected to announce a similar schedule on Monday. Restaurant dining areas aren't expected on the list though, which means the restaurants and eateries over the state line in Indiana are going to be packed with folks from KY and OH here in the Cincy metro area.
It's going to be bad, folks.