HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker announced an executive order Monday that will close in-house service at restaurants, bars and indoor entertainment venues at 10 p.m.
The announcement comes as cases continue to rise in the Hattiesburg Metro area, with the five-day average of new cases at its highest point since March.
“Our goals have been the same since this began: protect the vulnerable, prevent overrun of our health system and try to keep businesses open while prioritizing public health,” Barker said during a Facebook live Monday. “However, it is very clear that if we do not change course now, collectively and individually, we won’t be able to accomplish any of those goals, at least in the foreseeable future.”
The executive order is expected to be signed Tuesday and will go into effect Wednesday.
Delivery, drive-thru and curbside service can continue after 10 p.m. under the order.
“I’m not naive enough to think that COVID-19 is only transmitted after 10 p.m., but we do know that part of the key in slowing this down is to reduce the amount of unnecessary gatherings,” Barker said.
Barker noted that the same measure had been taken during the July and August spike in coronavirus cases.
“We made this same move to 10 p.m. at the end of July, and within several weeks, and thanks to your efforts and the efforts and awareness of a lot of people, hospitalization numbers came down. And that’s our hope this time as well,” Barker said.
The order will be in effect until Dec. 12. If cases decline, Barker said the city will look into expanding the hours once again.