COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Q: What  does the ‘Safer-At-Home’ order mean?

A: Mississippians should still stay home unless they have an essential reason for going out. The statewide ‘safer-at-home’ order is outlined in Executive Order 1477 and will be in effect from 8:00 AM Monday, April 27, 2020 until 8:00 AM Monday May 11, 2020.

Examples of essential, personal tasks include grocery shopping, doctor appointments, picking up medication from the pharmacy and caring for a sick family member.

For a list of ‘safer-at-home’ FAQs click here.

 

 

Q: What businesses are considered essential?

A: Governor Tate Reeves established which businesses and operations are considered to be ‘essential’ in Executive Order 1463 on page 3.

*The list above does NOT include all businesses and services. View the full list on page 3 of Executive Order 1463*

Q: When traveling, how can I establish that I work for an essential business or operation?

A: Have some record that identifies your place of employment, such as most recent pay stub or any letter of identification your employer gives you. If you have any questions, ask your employer and/or review the list on Executive Order 1463

Q: Can I travel to another state, city or county while the ‘safer-at-home’ order is in effect?

A: If travel is NOT ESSENTIAL, you’re advised to stay home. There are exceptions for folks that live on the border and travel back and forth for groceries or working at essential businesses. To see Essential Travel guides click here and look at Section 1: h. : Executive Order 1466

Q: Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

The Mississippi State Department of Health has a list of local testing providers across the state here.  Drive-through testing by appointment is also available daily at the state fairgrounds in Jackson.

Q: Can I attend church services?

A: It is discouraged to attend gatherings of more than 10 individuals. However, it’s encouraged to participate in virtual worship from home.

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 disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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 www.mdes.ms.gov 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: Do I qualify for an economic impact payment (stimulus check)? When will I receive it?

A: You’re eligible if you have an:

  • Adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 (for an individual)
  • Adjusted gross income of up to $150,000 (for married couples filing joint returns)

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

Distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks (as of Monday, March 30, 2020) and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.

A complete list of FAQs on this topic can be found here.

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

A: No. While the Safer-At-Home order is in effect (through Monday, May 11, 2020) your landlord CANNOT evict you. It is encouraged though to speak with your landlord about your situation, so they are aware. Read more about the ‘eviction suspension’ in Executive Order 1477.

Q: Can I go to work?

A:  If you work for an essential Business or Operation you may continue to go to work.  If your place of work is closed, you may go to work for minimum operations such as maintaining the condition of facilities, for security, to preserve value of business inventory, for payroll and employee benefits. If you’re working remotely from home, you can go to work to get things necessary for you to continue to work remotely from your home or residence.

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. Travel for health and safety is permitted. For previously scheduled appointments, check with your healthcare provider before traveling. Your healthcare provider should be observing instructions from the Mississippi Dept. of Health and not conducting non-essential visits or performing elective procedures or surgery. 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. Travel for health and safety is permitted.

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

A: Yes, but you should consider taking your most recent pay stub or other record to establish where you work.

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, but please maintain social distancing.

Q: Can I get gas in my car?

A:Yes, gas stations are essential businesses.

Q: Can I get gas in my boat or motorhome/RV?

A: Yes, gas stations are essential businesses.

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

A: Travel to or from schools is allowed for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, to receive meals, and for other education related purposes.

Q: Can I exercise or work out?

A: Gyms and health clubs and parks (not including walking trails) are closed during the Safer At Home order, but individual outdoor recreation is encouraged.  This would include running, biking, walking or even shooting baskets by yourself, but no group recreation or activities such as soccer or basketball games.

Q: Can I get my hair and nails done?

A: No. Salons, barbershops and other similar personal care and grooming facilities are closed during this Safer At Home order.

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: No. 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: Social gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted.  Travel is permitted for health and safety, or to get necessary food, services or supplies for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with  disabilities, or other vulnerable persons whether in or outside of the county.

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 for health and safety, or 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 https://mdes.ms.gov/ or your local WIN Job Center for assistance. You should also consult with your employer.

Q: My family reunion will have more than 10 people attending and it is scheduled during the Safer At Home order, may I still go?

A: All non-essential, social gatherings of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled. This includes gatherings like weddings, funerals, reunions, and backyard barbecues.

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. Courts are an Essential Business or Operation. 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.