Workplaces will need to provide safe environments for employees and customers by facilitating social distancing and providing adequate hygiene materials such as hand sanitizer. Employees that are sick should be encouraged to stay home and should be checked for COVID-19 symptoms daily. The following are recommendations from the Mississippi Department of Health.
All retail businesses, restaurants and bars must limit customers to a maximum of a 50% capacity.
Employees must wear face coverings when in contact with the public.
Businesses should take measures to ensure social distancing and hand hygiene for customers.
Many parents are planning the best way for their children to go back to school and/or childcare while weighing the risk and benefits. While educating Mississippi children is of the upmost importance, certain safety measures will have to be undertaken to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at the school among students, faculty and staff.
The virus spreads person–to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or sings. This is why maintaining a distance of 6 feet is important. The longer people remain in close proximity, the higher the chance of spread. It’s important to remember COVID-19 can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
Full-capacity in-person classes, activities and events. The exposure risk for COVID-19 increases when children and teachers are not spaced apart, when activities require close interaction or sharing of supplies occurs and when students mix between classes.
Small, in-person classes, activities and events.
Students and teachers engaging in virtual-only classes, activities and events.
Recommendations to control the spread of COVID-19 at schools include:
Symptom and temperature screening
Supplies to help with hygiene
Maintaining 6-feet of separation between students
Cloth face coverings by all staff, bus drivers and students (dependent on age and other factors)
Staggered cafeteria times
Planning for Returning to School
It’s important to model healthy behaviors at home and to talk to your children about what they can expect when returning to school. Here are some actions to consider provided by the CDC:
Check in with your child each morning for signs of illness. If your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should not go to school. Other signs of illness can include cough, diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting or body aches.
If you child has had close contact with someone with COVID-19, they should not go to school.
Identify your school’s point person(s) to contact if your child gets sick.
Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccines.
Review and practice proper handwashing techniques at home. Make hand washing fun and explain to your child why it’s important.
Consider packing a water bottle in your child’s backpack.
Make sure your contact information is current at your child’s school.
Children and Face Masks
Children, especially the younger ones, may experience difficulty in understanding the importance of face masks or find it challenging to wear them for long periods of time. Here are some tips to help you and your family adjust:
Have multiple face masks available, so you can wash them daily and have back-ups ready.
Label your child’s face mask clearly in a permanent marker so they are not confused with those of other children.
Explain the importance of wearing a face mask and how it protects other people from getting sick.
As a family, model wearing face masks, especially when you are in situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Praise your child for wearing their face mask correctly.
For younger children who are struggling with becoming comfortable seeing others in face masks: draw a face mask on a favorite book character or put a mask on one of their stuffed animals.
Visitation to long-term facilities and nursing homes are highly restricted to protect vulnerable residents.
Mississippi Department of Health Guidance
To prevent transmission group social activities and group visits should be discontinued.
Post signs that discourage nonessential visitation and ill visitors from entering the facility.
Keep all ill visitors away from the facility for at least 48 hours after symptoms resolve.
Only allow visitors for residents receiving end-of-life care or to provide critical assistance.
Other visitation may be permitted at the facility if the supervising health professional considers it safe, although virtual visits are encouraged.
Permitted visitors should only visit their family and should not have contact with other residents.
Permitted visitors should practice respiratory hygiene and proper hand hygiene.
Hand washing products should be available to essential visitors.
Mississippi Department of Health Guidance
Bars can only serve alcohol to seated customers. Bar hours are from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 pm.
All restaurants and bars must limit customers to a 50% capacity.
All parties or groups must be separated by at least 6 feet.
All employees must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms daily.
All employees must wear a face covering when serving the public.