Leflore County’s COVID-19 curfew will remain in effect until the Board of Supervisors reconsiders it next month, although the city of Greenwood’s has been lifted.
The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to continue the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew along with visitation restrictions at the courthouse. Members of the public entering the courthouse must use the north entrance, wear masks and have an appointment at one of the offices there.
Board members are concerned by the fact that coronavirus-related cases and deaths are continuing to occur in the county.
As of Tuesday’s update by the Mississippi State Department of Health, Leflore County has had 246 cases and 27 deaths from the respiratory disease. The death count is the fifth-highest of the state’s 82 counties.
“The more relaxed we get, the more relaxed the people are going to get,” said the board’s president, Robert Collins.
Other supervisors concurred. “The data doesn’t say to reopen,” District 2 Supervisor Reginald Moore said.
District 3 Supervisor Anjuan Brown asked if the curfew is working.
Undersheriff Ken Spencer said the Sheriff’s Department has used the curfew to break up large groups gathering outside of stores and also near Morgan City and Itta Bena.
District 1 Supervisor Sam Abraham wanted to know if businesses, such as stores, had complained about the 10 p.m. closing time, and the answer from other county officials was no.
In related business, the board did not act on a request by Fred Randle, emergency management director, that the county direct its employees who say they have been exposed to COVID-19 to a specified doctor or clinic. The idea is to make sure employees claiming the need for quarantine have adequate documentation for being paid while at home. The problem is that some employees are claiming exposure to the virus but are either not visiting a doctor or reporting that they were told by a doctor to quarantine themselves although they showed no symptoms and were not tested.
The supervisors said they did not think Randle’s request was necessary since existing personnel policies already spell out what employees are supposed to do. Abraham pointed out that they could take sick days or personal leave days but should not expect to be paid for days taken for quarantine without documentation from a physician.
The board did vote, though, to request a state attorney general’s opinion on the topic of hazard pay, which Moore had added to the meeting’s agenda. He said he is especially interested in supporting sanitation workers dealing with waste.
Abraham noted that hazard pay, if legal, could possibly apply to all county employees.
Johnny Gary Jr., the county’s administrator, was asked to look into how the county might finance perhaps a one-time hazard payment to employees.
The board also voted to join the city of Greenwood in applying for a federal grant to help cover coronavirus-related expenses. The deadline is June 29. The city would receive $30,000 and the county $47,000, Collins said.
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