Mississippi Workers Getting Paid

Under a bill that passed in the Mississippi Senate Wednesday, hourly workers for both the state and county governments would continue to get paid during layoffs caused by a disaster like the coronavirus crisis. Current law already covers state employees. The measure now goes to Governor Tate Reeves for his signature. House members passed a similar bill before adjourning Tuesday.

Mississippi Halting Water and Sewer Cut Off

By order of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and the Mississippi Public Service Commission, disconnections of all water, sewer, electricity and gas service has been temporarily suspended for 60-days. According to Attorney General Lynn Fitch, the temporary suspension also includes municipal services not normally regulated by the PSC. Fitch said the action is to ensure all Mississippians have access to essential utility service during the coronavirus crisis.

Do Not Buy More Then Needed

Grocery stores in the Memphis area continue to work hard to keep shelves stocked. Hand sanitizer and toilet paper are tough to find and some stores run low on meat and dairy products, but workers are busy restocking whatever arrives daily. Grocery store officials ask that people remain patient with long lines at checkout, but say everyone understands the challenging situation.

$150,000 in Aide

Governor Bill Lee says he’s establishing a 150-million-dollar fund to cover public health issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The governor is also making a unprecedented contribution of 350-million dollars to the state’s rainy day fund. The state’s General Assembly is rushing to pass bills, including a budget package, before it goes on recess this weekend. Lawmakers are not due to return until June first.

Beer Hand Sanitizer

A Mississippi beer brewing company is now making hand sanitizer. The owners of Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company in Kiln said they started making the sanitizer last week after some staff members were unable to find any commercial brands in the stores. The company says it figured out a way to use raw materials in the making of beer, which includes alcohol, and covert it into hand sanitizer. Lazy Magnolia is now pre-packaging the sanitizer in 24 oz spray bottles for about 20-dollars. If customers bring their own bottles, the price is 75-cents per ounce.

Shelby Co Has Drive-thru Testing

– Shelby County’s first drive-thru testing site for the coronavirus is open and seeing patients. The site is located at the Women’s Health Care Associates off of Highway 64 in Arlington. The tests cost 60-dollars, plus another 60-dollars in lab fees. Results are expected within three to five days.

Local Government Requestion Halt to Evictions

Members of two local governments are calling on Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris to discontinue evictions for the foreseeable future because of the coronavirus outbreak. Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer and City Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas also want to release low-level offenders from the Shelby County Division of Corrections. They note other larger cities, such as Nashville and Los Angeles, have done so.

Relief Programs Launched in Tennessee

Governor Bill Lee says the state has launched a series of relief programs to help Tennesseans during the COVID-19 outbreak. The programs include increased cash benefits for low-income families and easing requirements for residents to collect unemployment and grants for local governments. The state is tapping into funds from its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Lee says the state will start issuing payments of one-thousand dollars to qualifying families who have lost jobs because of the coronavirus crisis.

Mississippi Run-Off Election in Question

Coronavirus could force a delay in a congressional election in Mississippi. Two Republicans are scheduled to meet in a runoff March 31st to determine the nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. But Secretary of State Michael Watson says a possible postponement of the election is among the options under consideration.

Blood Banks Running Low

Blood banks throughout the state of Mississippi are reporting severe shortages in blood supplies because of the coronavirus. Leaders say recent cancellations of blood drives have depleted supplies statewide. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the state health department are urging anyone who can, to register immediately to give blood as all types are needed. According to the Red Cross, there is no evidence that the coronavirus is transmissible through blood donations.