WAVELAND, Miss. (WLOX) - As Mississippi prepares to enter the most active part of hurricane season, Governor Tate Reeves and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor visited Hancock County Thursday to meet with emergency managers and discuss this year’s unique challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reeves and Gaynor held a news conference at the Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum on Coleman Ave. where they were joined by MEMA Executive Director Greg Michel, and Hancock County EMA Director Brian “Hooty” Adam.
The governor used the meeting as an opportunity to announce $4 million in federal grants are going to emergency management in South Mississippi, including $2.2 million to the Bay St. Louis Fire Department, $1 million to the Biloxi Fire Department, $70,000 to the Pascagoula Fire Department, and $533,000 to the Department of Marine Resources for port security.
The governor talked about how important it is to have these relationships with FEMA.
“The partnership we have with the administration is critical,” Reeves said. “The thing I’ve enjoyed about working with them is that they recognize that the model of disaster preparedness and the model that works best in America is when we have natural disasters they must be state managed, locally managed, and federally resourced. We have a great partnership.”
Governor Reeves also didn’t miss the chance to reiterate the importance of Mississippians wearing masks to help curb the spread of coronavirus, which is an additional stress we’ve never before encountered during hurricane season. He said if the COVID-19 cases continue to climb, he won’t hesitate to add additional counties to the current 13-county mask mandate.
“It doesn’t matter what the government mandates. It doesn’t matter what I, as governor, mandate. Words on the page do not matter. What matters is what you do as an individual Mississippian to protect yourself and to protect your fellow Mississippians,” Reeves said. “Just like you, I don’t like to be told what to do by anybody. Period. I just ask all of my fellow Mississippians here on the Gulf Coast to think, ‘What am I doing to help protect my mom or my dad? My grandma or my granddad?’ And if you think about that, I promise, we’ll see significantly better participation of mask wearing, social distancing, and staying home whenever possible.”