COVID-19 Guidance and Prevention for Individuals and the Community

Updated August 2, 2020
This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Individuals, communities and organizations are essential to controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Mississippi. The precautions and guidance here can keep you and the state safer and healthier.

Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (7 days a week, 7 a.m.–7 p.m.): 877-978-6453

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 then isolation or quarantine is important to protect others.

A Simple Guide to Executive Orders: A handy summary of the latest COVID-19 Executive Orders from the Governor, organized by who and what they apply to. View the guide »

Mask and social distancing requirements for additional counties: Additional counties have been ordered by the Governor to observe stricter limits on gathering sizes, social distance in businesses, and other safety measures to control the high local rates of COVID-19.

Preventing COVID-19: Recommendations and Requirements


Businesses and Re-Opening

Gatherings and Events

Special restrictions for certain counties

Prevention for Individuals

Hand sanitizer warning: Hand sanitizers containing methanol are toxic. What to look for »

The precautions and requirements below have been determined by the State Health Officer and the Governor's COVID-19 executive orders.

Protect Yourself and Others

Wear a mask in public places

All Mississippi residents should wear non-medical grade masks or homemade cloth face coverings when shopping, running errands, or otherwise away from home. Face covering is especially important when a distance of at least 6 feet cannot easily be maintained between persons. This recommendation does not include manufactured (surgical) or N95 masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Face coverings are now required in certain counties. More information »

  • Practice social distancing whenever possible. Keep at least 6 feet apart from others when you are outside your home.
  • Avoid large social gatherings and community events. Follow restrictions on indoor and outdoor gathering sizes. Details »
  • If you are sick, especially with shortness of breath, severe cough, fever or severe chest pain, stay home, call a doctor or healthcare provider for instructions on how to visit them safely.
  • If you have been tested for COVID-19, stay home and away from others until you get your test result. Learn more »
  • If you are 65 or older, or in poor health, stay home as much as possible (see precaution below).

Practice Protective Hygiene

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. When possible, cough, sneeze or blow your nose into a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after coughing or sneezing, blowing your nose, and using the bathroom. Effective handwashing takes at least 20 seconds, and includes cleaning under fingernails, between fingers, and washing the back of hands as well as the front. More proper handwashing tips »
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often.
  • Stay in good overall health by eating right and staying active. If you are living with diabetes, heart disease or other medical condition, keep in touch with your doctor and stay current with your treatment.

Local Testing Providers

Local healthcare providers are now providing sampling and test services at locations across the state for those with COVID-19 symptoms.

Families, Women and Children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer specialized recommendations for:

Older Adults and People at High Risk

People at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are adults 65 and over, those who are obese, those with a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, and anyone receiving treatments which may compromise their immune system. These people should take precautions at all times to limit their exposure to others who may be ill:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • If a household member has been away from home in a public place, keep a safe distance (6 feet or more) from them for 14 days.
  • Keep more space (6 feet if possible) between you and others as you go through the day.
  • If you do go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, and practice strong social distancing. Pay closer attention to hygiene and cleanliness.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after being in public places.

Prevention in the Community

New mask and social distancing requirements for selected counties

Based on the Governor's executive orders 1515, 1512, 1509 and 1507, the following counties must practice the enhanced safety protocols below.

  • Bolivar, Calhoun, Carroll, Claiborne, Coahoma, Covington, De Soto, Forrest, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Madison, Montgomery, Noxubee, Panola, Pontotoc, Quitman, Rankin, Sharkey, Simpson, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Walthall, Washington, Wayne, Winston and Yalobusha.

In all types of businesses:

  • All employees are required to keep at least 6 feet from other employees, or wear a face mask.
  • All employees must be screened at the beginning of their shift.
  • Employees in contact with the public must wear a face covering.
  • Members of the public must wear a face covering at all times in a business, except for some circumstances such as eating, or special medical conditions.

Gatherings and events:

  • Social gatherings are limited to 10 individuals indoors and 20 outdoors, and a distance of at least six feet between individuals must be maintained.
  • A distance of six feet or more must be maintained between others at all public events, indoors and out, or else face coverings must be worn.

Schools, businesses, events and other places that people gather should take steps to prevent or limit the spread of viral illness.

Social Gatherings and Events

Everyone attending events and gatherings, including weddings and funerals, should take extra precautions at this time, including:

  • Indoor gatherings and activities are limited to 10 people, and at least six feet between individuals not of the same household must be maintained. Exceptions are made for students in classrooms and religious entities.
  • Outdoor gatherings and activities are limited to 20 people, and at least six feet between individuals not of the same household must be maintained. Exceptions are made for religious entities.
  • Arena attendance is limited to 25% or less of full capacity.
  • In addition to social distancing, wearing a mask or face covering in public places is strongly recommended by the State Health Officer.
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Look for sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol. Warning: Avoid hand sanitizers containing methanol »
  • If ill, do not attend any public event and call your physician or healthcare provider if needed.

State Agencies

Businesses and Workplaces

Workplaces should be mindful of providing strong hygiene support and facilitating social distancing for the safety of their employees and patrons. Employees who are sick should stay at home, and employees should be checked daily for COVID-19 symptoms.

  • All retail businesses, restaurants and bars must limit the number of customers to no greater than 50% capacity.
  • Employees must wear masks or face coverings when in contact with the public.
  • Businesses should take every measure to ensure social distancing and proper hand hygiene for customers.

Restaurants and bars

  • Bars may sell alcohol only to seated customers. Bar hours are restricted to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • All restaurants and bars must limit the number of customers to no greater than 50% capacity.
  • All parties or groups must be separated by a minimum of 6 feet.
  • All employees must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 daily.
  • All employees must wear a face covering when serving the public.

Report a restaurant that is not following COVID-19 safety orders: E-mail the details to food@msdh.ms.gov

Long-Term Care Facilities

Visitation to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities is now highly restricted in order to protect residents.

  • Discontinue group social activities and group visits to help prevent possible disease transmission.
  • Post signs that discourage all nonessential visitation and discourage ill visitors from entering the facility.
  • Keep all ill visitors away from the facility for at least 48 hours after symptoms resolve.
  • Only allow visitors for residents receiving end-of-life care or to provide critical assistance.
  • Facilities may permit other visitation if they observe conditions that their supervising health professional considers safe. Electronic visits are to be encouraged.
  • Permitted visitors should only visit their family members and should not have contact with other residents.
  • Permitted visitors should cover their coughs and be educated on the importance of hand hygiene.
  • Make sure the facility has plenty of hand washing products and that essential visitors have access to them.

Church and Worship Services

Like any gathering, church services have the potential to spread COVID-19 infection if they are not resumed with suitable precautions. Guidelines have now been issued to help churches offer in-person services while minimizing the risk of disease transmission.

Youth Sports

  • All participants must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19
  • 100 person maximum per field, including fans
  • Limit of 2 fans per player
  • Fans outside of family group must maintain 6 feet of separation
  • Bleachers shall be closed to fans


The Mississippi State Department of Health has created guidelines to assist school administrators in re-opening decisions during COVID-19.

Child Care Facilities

The Mississippi State Department of Health has not recommended closing child care facilities at this time.

Child care faculties choosing to remain open should be mindful of hygiene and disinfection practices specific to schools and daycares:

Funeral Homes and Mortuaries

MSDH has specific guidance for services of this type.

Other Community Guidance

The CDC offers prevention, response and re-opening guidance for:

The CDC has guidance for cleaning rooms and buildings visited by those who have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Information for Travelers

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel (including cruise travel) to all global destinations due to the global pandemic and widespread transmission of COVID-19. All travelers returning from international travel are advised to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after returning home.

You may be contacted by the Mississippi State Department of Health if you have returned from traveling to an area with restrictions on entry to the US, traveled on a cruise, or traveled on a flight or ship with a confirmed COVID-19 case. We'll provide instructions on protective steps to take, including isolation at home.

General Information

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that causes flu-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms of fever, coughing, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Like the flu, COVID-19 spreads person-to-person by close contact (within 6 feet) and by coughing or sneezing. COVID-19 may also spread by touching surfaces contaminated by the virus.

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Last reviewed on Mar 20, 2020
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U Contact and information

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