Does Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves’ coronavirus declaration clash with local orders?

OXFORD, Miss. — An executive order from Mississippi’s governor made national headlines Wednesday. Tate Reeves issued an executive order on what things Mississippi cities should do to fight the coronavirus.

The order came after several Mid-South cities put measures in place.

FOX13 talked to Oxford’s mayor Robyn Tannehill Thursday. She said she doesn’t think what the governor called for was enough and worried it could undo the city’s steps against the virus.

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The City of Oxford has not issued a shelter in place order. They have asked residents not to get out if they do not have to and to only make trips for absolute essentials.

Mayor Tannehill said the City of Oxford's ordinances in regard to the coronavirus are stronger than the executive order put out by the governor.


“The executive order indicated that our plans would be superseded by the governor's executive order, which was much more lenient than the actions that we have taken,” she said.

Tannehill told FOX13 the governor's order does not go as far as the city in defining a non-essential business for one thing.

“Well, when we first read the order our interpretation was actually that it undid all the hard work the board had done to protect our citizens,” she said.

Tannehill said the city's measures contain fines for non-essential businesses that open their doors to customers. The governor's order does not. She said she actually got the governor on the phone about it.

“He was indicating that all the businesses could open back up to keep their crowds to ten or less. I shared with him the challenges that Oxford has with that, being as densely populated as we are, and he agreed,” said Tannehill.

The mayor said the governor has agreed to let the city keep their measures in place to protect its citizens.

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Many who live in Oxford told FOX13 they believe the measures, however strict, are warranted and believe the strength of them will help stop the coronavirus.

Katheryn Coleman is a business owner in Oxford. She said because she has family members who are at risk, she very much appreciates the actions the city has taken.

“I believe we have to do this and be pro-aggressive. This is very, very serious for our community and the world as well and the more pro-aggressive we are the quicker we will nip it in the bud,” Coleman said.

Jordan Augustine is an Ole Miss student. He said Oxford is a highly social town, and making the restaurants and bars go to curbside service was a necessary move to stop the virus.

“If those social gatherings keep happening, more people will get infected and I already know that people aren't self-quarantining,” he said.

Coleman said the matter is very serious for her family.

“I don't want to be around people,” she said. “I have an 82-year-old mother at home and I can't expose her to anything and we've just got to get through it.”

FOX13 reached out to Governor Tate Reeves’ office for comment. We will share his response as soon as we hear back.