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May 05


Posted on May 5, 2020 at 1:48 PM by Darren Musselwhite

Yesterday, Governor Reeves  issued Executive Order 1478 which amended his “Safer-in-Place” Order effective Thursday, May 7 at 8:00 AM.   The Order may be read in its entirety for all details, but basically changed the following:

Restaurant dining rooms may open with a 50% seating capacity limit for customers; 6-person maximum at tables; 6-feet social distancing between all persons when practical; bar areas prohibited unless serving food; no live music; mandatory facial coverages for servers; and other detailed hygiene and health-evaluation measures.

Outdoor recreational gatherings, including team sports,  may occur with a maximum of 20 participants.  

Obviously, these limitations regarding sports create challenges for a Parks & Recreation operation like we have in Southaven.  Our plan is as follows:  Recreational baseball and softball will begin practice on Monday, May 18 at Snowden Grove and Greenbrook Parks.  We will have a full season with games beginning on Monday, June 1 and the season concluding by July 31.  There will be no state tournaments or Dizzy Dean World Series.  Competitive baseball and softball tournaments will begin on Friday, May 29.  Indoor training at the BankPlus Sports Center and our new, beautiful Greenbrook facility will begin on Monday, May 18.  Soccer practice begins on Saturday, May 16 with the first games on Saturday, May 30.  Volleyball will not occur until after June 1.  Tennis and golf are now open, but no tournaments or group activities until Friday, May 29.  Playgrounds and Forever Young Senior activities will remain suspended until Monday, June 1. Strict social distancing requirements will continue to be required.  Obviously, a degree of common sense must be used as it is impossible for players to distance at all times during sporting competitions.

I commend Governor Reeves for his tireless efforts during this crisis and for proving that he is truly listening to Mayors in our state.  His latest action is a big step in the right direction, but we need more.  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.  We have a detailed plan for recovery in Southaven that I am very confident will bring us back gradually, very cautiously, and effectively.

Now, let’s talk facts about where we are right now.  Our people have made tremendous sacrifices!  We have truly flattened the curve and controlled the spread of this virus.  We were all terrified in mid-March and didn’t know how severely we would be affected here.  It has been 55 days since President Trump declared a national emergency and 49 days since our first positive case in Desoto County.  We now have our own experience and data.  Listen to these facts:

As of today, May 5 we have had 308 COVID-19 positive cases, which equates to .17 of 1% of our population in Desoto County (308/185,000).

Our fatality rate is .002 of 1% of our population (4/185,000).

Shelby County, Tennessee’s numbers are very similar.

Our spread rate for 49 days since our first positive case has averaged 6.29 daily and has remained very consistent, not typical of an exponential epidemic spread rate.

Our COVID-19 hospitalization rate in Southaven has decreased 83% since April 1 and capacity has never been challenged at any time throughout this crisis.

Listen to me, this virus is very serious and we must remain very cautious and continue to evaluate data daily.  Losing one life is too many and this risk must continue to get our utmost attention.  However, our real experience and data with this has proven that much of what we were warned about has not been a real threat here.  We are not Italy, Spain, or New York because of the major difference in population densities.  We did what we had to do and it was the right call, but now other health risks caused by the drastic measures we implemented outweigh the risk of the virus itself.  We cannot be paralyzed by fear and bankrupt our country, state, and local economies.  It’s time that we come out of our bunker and fight for our way of life again!  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! 

Furthermore, with all due respect, we are blessed with some of the most talented physicians and scientists in the world and we would not have achieved the success we have in this fight without them, but it’s time to return them to their proper roles as advisors and let our elected officials make policy decisions.  Leadership is about considering all facts, developing a strategic plan, and communicating it clearly and boldly to the people depending on you.  

To all elected officials:

Now is not the time for political games, finger pointing, and fighting.  Never is it acceptable to circulate misinformation for political purposes.  It is time to come together and solve problems for the people who entrusted us to do so.

To the people of Southaven:

You have made tremendous sacrifices and showed your toughness and resilience.  We are on the brink of a great recovery!  Let’s continue to be smart while we claim our lives back!

It’s time!

With the most concern and respect,

Mayor Darren Musselwhite