COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What  does the ‘Safe Return’ order mean?

A: The ‘Safe Return’ order is the final stage of safely reopening Mississippi.  It will be in effect until Monday, August 3, 2020.  You can read the full original Executive Order here: Executive Order 1508.

For a full list of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the ‘Safe Return’ order click here.

Q: Can I travel to another state, city or county while the ‘Safe Return’ order is in effect?

A: Yes, under the new ‘Safe Return’ order all travel may resume. However, it is still encouraged to minimize non-essential travel when possible.

Q: Can I attend church services?

A: Although it is still encourage to hold church services virtually, in-person worship services are permitted. People should still continue to exercise social distancing and follow the Safe Worship Guidelines outlined by Governor Tate Reeves.

Q: How do I apply for a small business disaster loan?

A: Click here to apply on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for a low-interest disaster loan. You can also contact SBA disaster assistance customer service if you need additional help by calling 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail

Due to the CARES Act, small businesses & non-profits can get up to a $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan even if previous applications were declined or are still pending.

Additional information regarding the SBA disaster loan process can be found here and on the SBA website.

Q: Do I qualify for unemployment benefits? If so, how do I file a claim?

A: You are eligible to file a COVID-19 claim for unemployment benefits if you are/have been:

  • Quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency
  • Laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by your employer due to COVID-19 concerns
  • Diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Caring for an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19

If you qualify, you may file a claim on the MDES website at or call the MDES Contact Center at 1-888-844-3577. Due to the high volume of claims, MDES has also recently created additional ways to file.

Click here for additional resources from MDES for workers and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Q: What if I have filed a COVID-19 employment claim and was denied regular unemployment? Do I have other options?

A: Yes. If you have been denied regular unemployment then you can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through MDES. PUA is intended to provide assistance to persons unemployed or working reduced hours due to COVID-19 and are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Click here for more information or eligibility and how to apply.

Q: I’ve been laid off and can’t pay my rent. Can I be evicted?

A: Now that the ‘Safe Return’ order is in effect, it is possible that you could be evicted by your landlord. It is encouraged though to speak with your landlord about your situation, so they are aware.

Q: Can I go to work?

A:  Yes, you may go to work. However, it’s important to continue to practice social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when possible.

Q: Can I go to the grocery store?

A: Of course, but we ask that you wear a mask. Make a list and buy your groceries and supplies in as few trips as possible—once a week not once a day.  Go to the grocery store only to buy food or supplies needed to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of your home, not for any social gatherings. Finally, we ask that only one person per household visits the grocery store at a time instead of the entire family.

Q: Can I go to the doctor/dentist?

A: Yes. For previously scheduled appointments, check with your healthcare provider before traveling. Your healthcare provider should be observing instructions from the Mississippi Dept. of Health. If healthcare visits and procedures can safely be rescheduled they should be.

Q: Can I go to the pharmacy to fill my prescription?

A: Yes, all travel is permitted.

Q: Can I travel to and from work if I live in the county and work outside the county?

A: Yes, all travel is permitted.

Q:Can I go fishing?

A: Yes, but please maintain social distancing.

Q:Can I go hunting?

A: Yes, but please maintain social distancing.

Q: Can I go boating?

A: Yes. Recreational boating with appropriate social distancing to the extent possible inside the boat is permitted. The number of persons in the boat are limited to the greater of two occupants or 50% of the occupancy limit of all multi-person boats.

Q:  Can I go to school or take my child to school?

A: School is closed for the rest of the school year, but travel to or from schools is allowed for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, to receive meals, and for other education related purposes. Beginning June 1, 2020, public school districts may open their buildings to offer in-person summer school programs.

Q: Can I exercise or work out?

A: Yes, gyms and health clubs can now open under the new Executive Order 1480, but gym owners and employees must operate under the specific guidelines listed in Executive Order 1480.

Q: Can I get my hair and nails done?

A: Yes, salons and barber shops can now open under the new Executive Order 1480, but salon owners and employees must operate under the specific guidelines listed in Executive Order 1480.

Q:  Can I go shopping?

A:  Yes, but please wear a mask when in public and continue to practice social distancing.

Q: Can I visit a family member in the hospital or nursing home?

A: Most visits are not allowed. For the safety of residents, patients and staff, visits to hospitals and nursing homes are prohibited except to visit those individuals receiving imminent end-of-life care, or as otherwise allowed by that healthcare facility.

Q: Can I travel outside the county to visit family?

A: Yes, all travel is permitted. However, any outdoor social gathering should not exceed 100 people nor should any indoor social gathering exceed 50 individuals.

Q: I have an elderly shut-in relative, may I help them buy groceries, deliver medicine, or take them to an essential doctor visit?

A: Yes. Travel is permitted to get necessary food, services or supplies for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.

Q: What if I’m laid off while my business is closed during this COVID-19 epidemic?

A: Contact the Mississippi Department of Employment Security or your local WIN Job Center for assistance. You should also consult with your employer.

Q: My family reunion is scheduled during the Safe Return order, may I still go?

A: Under the amended ‘Safe Return’ order, social gatherings are limited to 10 or less indoors and 20 or less outdoors.

Q: If a family member has been quarantined because of a known contact with an active diagnosed case of COVID-19, may I still visit him/her?

A: No. Please consult with the appropriate medical and health officials on specific instructions.

Q: I have a court appearance schedule during this shelter in place order, may I attend?

A: Yes, but please consult with your attorney and court personnel to be sure of the date and time, or to learn if it has been postponed or rescheduled before traveling.

Q: What if my City or Town has adopted more strict regulations?

A: Combatting COVID-19 in Mississippi is a joint effort with federal, State, County and Local officials working together. Local or county authorities understand the local community best and may adopt and enforce rules that are more strict as long they do not prevent any Essential Business or Operation as identified in Executive Order No. 1463 from providing essential services and functions.