BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - As the number of COVID cases continues to go up, more South Mississippi businesses and workplaces are being affected. Many of those businesses are choosing to be transparent with the public about coronavirus concerns.
Backbay Mission addressed their COVID closure with a voicemail and signage. Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant opted for a social media post to explain their closure. One of their employees tested positive over the weekend, and they decided sharing that information was for the good of the community.
“From the get-go, we decided that this was much more about public health than [public relations] so we decided from the very beginning to be transparent with our guests,” said the restaurant’s chief marketing officer Caroline Kirkendoll. “The health and safety of our team members and our guests is of the utmost concern.”
Company officials were concerned about public opinion, but have been surprised by the support they have seen.
“This wasn’t the easiest thing to do at first,” said Kirkendoll. “We were certainly nervous about the backlash, and it has overwhelmingly been super positive. Whether it is comments on Facebook or people just reaching out to thank us for keeping them informed, so if anything it has encouraged us to continue to be transparent.”
In Biloxi, the effort for transparency goes all the way to City Hall, which was closed Monday after a city employee tested positive.
“We can be as transparent as we can be but unless people use that information for the good, then it does no good,” Biloxi Public Affairs Manager Vincent Creel. “What we’re advising people to do right now is have a mask with you and wear that mask when you cannot social distance.”
In a video posted on the city’s Facebook page Monday, Creel implores people to do business by phone or email when possible. He also says citizens can get free masks if needed by contacting Biloxi Fire Department.
“This is not going to go away. People need to take action and this is just another example of how rampant this thing can be,” said Creel.
Despite rising numbers in Harrison County, Creel said there were 6,083 registered cars at the Coast Coliseum this past weekend for Scrapin the Coast.
More than half of the number of cases seen in the six coastal counties are in Harrison County, according to MSDH.