Mississippi – Coronavirus State Actions

Governors are working closely with federal and local officials as well as private sector partners to address the threat of the novel coronavirus. This page lists select actions taken to date. It is not intended to be exhaustive but is meant to highlight key actions and resources that may inform other states and territories as they prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus. All state actions can be viewed here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for additional information and resources.


Mississippi State Department of Health coronavirus resource page.  

  • March 4, 2020—Governor Reeves established the Mississippi Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness and Response Planning Steering Committee to coordinate efforts across state and local governments.
  • March 14, 2020—Governor Reeves declared a state of emergency
  • March 16, 2020 – The Governor signed two executive orders which:
    • Active the National Guard to support mobile testing units;
    • Require agencies to keep essential employees and send non-essential employees home;
    • Requests schools develop distance learning protocols and continue providing free or reduced lunches; and
    • Provides paid leave for state and local employees who miss work due to COVID-19.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor announced the closing of all public schools through April 17 as well as end-of-year tests and accountability measures.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor activated the National Guard.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor announced that the Small Business Administration approved the state’s request for an Economic Disaster Declaration. 
  • March 21, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order 1462 that gives the Mississippi Department of Employment Security the ability to expedite payments to unemployed Mississippians and relax collection requirements on employers.
  • March 23, 2020 – The Governor announced that he is not currently ordering businesses to close, or for individuals to stay home.
  • March 23, 2020- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Mississippi’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables Mississippi to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, and extend fair hearing  and appeals timelines.
  • March 24, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order No. 1463 which:
    • Limits mass gatherings to 10 or less;
    • Suspends dine-in services at restaurants and bars;
    • Restricts visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities;
    • Directs businesses to allow employees to work from home; and
    • Defines essential businesses.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Governor issued a supplement to Executive Order No. 1463 to ensure uniform statewide parameters, such that:
    • No measures can be adopted that are less restrictive than the executive order.
    • Any existing local measures can remain in effect under the executive order, as long as they provide the same minimum standards established in the executive order and do not impose restrictions that would prevent essential services from operating.
  • March 30, 2020 – The Mississippi Department of Human Services increased the maximum SNAP benefit levels for families impacted by COVID-19. 
  • March 31, 2020 – The Governor issued a shelter in place order for a county in the state due to increased cases in that region.
  • April 1, 2020 – The Governor issued a stay at home order for the entire state.
  • April 3, 2020 – The Governor requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration.
  • April 7, 2020 – The Governor ordered to waive the in-person requirement for notarizing documents in Mississippi for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • April 9, 2020 – The Governor issued a statewide burn ban, due to requests from the Mississippi Forestry Commission, which would ease the strain on emergency responders who are responding to the public health emergency.
  • April 10, 2020 – The Governor signed an Executive Order restricting all non-essential elective surgeries and medical procedures.
  • April 10, 2020 – The Governor signed an Executive Order which creates additional protections from civil liability for healthcare workers and facilities assisting outside their normal operations in response to this public health emergency.
  • April 14, 2020 – The Governor announced that schools in Mississippi will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
  • April 15, 2020 – The Governor announced two new programs that aim to help those at risk of losing their homes and to provide essential workers access to childcare.
  • April 17, 2020 – The Governor extended the state’s stay-at-home order by one week.
  • April 18, 2020 – The Governor announced the creation of the Governor’s Commission for Economic Recovery, also called Restart Mississippi.
  • April 21, 2020 – The Governor announced that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is now available for residents.
  • April 26, 2020 – The Governor announced a Safer at Home order which encourages residents to stay home, but eases some restrictions on essential business closures.
  • May 4, 2020 – The Governor signed an Executive Order which amends the state’s Safer At Home order, until May 11. The Governor also laid out strict social distancing guidelines to begin the process of reopening restaurants and allowing outdoor recreation.
  • May 8, 2020 – The Governor announced a plan for salons, barbershops and gyms to reopen.
  • May 11, 2020 – The Governor signed an Executive Order which waives the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits for all claims filed from March 8, 2020 to December 26, 2020. The Governor is also increasing the $40 earning allowance to $200 from May 3, 2020 until June 27, 2020. For employers, the Governor waived any interest from April 1, 2020 to June 27, 2020 on all collection activities suspended under the Executive Order.
  • May 12, 2020 – The Governor announced additional social distancing measures for seven counties identified as hotspots throughout the state.
  • May 13, 2020 – The Governor announced that he is lifting a suspension on evictions on June 1, which will allow law enforcement to restart enforcement of eviction orders.
  • May 15, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order 1486 which will allow more businesses to open, including dance studies, parks, and fishing tournaments.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor released social distancing and sanitation guidelines for in-person worship services to safely resume across the state.
  • May 21, 2020 – The Governor announced that a church in the state had been destroyed by a suspected arson fire after the pastor filed a lawsuit challenging the city on restrictions amid the pandemic.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor announced that he has extended the Safer at Home order for another week, while allowing outdoor recreation facilities to reopen with restrictions.
  • May 27, 2020 – The Governor announced that all businesses in the state can reopen as of June 1.
  • June 1, 2020 – The Governor lifted the final orders that had closed businesses because of the pandemic.
  • June 9, 2020 – The Governor signed two executive orders which extends the safe-return order, which went into effect June 1, by an extra two weeks, and the second order moves to get government employees back to work.
  • June 15, 2020 – Due to an increase in fraud, the Governor addressed the state’s response to unemployment fraud schemes related to the pandemic.
  • July 1, 2020 – The Governor announced that the state’s reopening plan is currently on pause.