Preventing COVID-19: Recommendations and Requirements
Home isolation is mandatory if you have tested positive for COVID-19 by order of the State Health Officer. (If you are awaiting results of routine testing not related to exposure, you may return to work and follow the safety guidance of your employer.)
Quarantine is mandatory if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19
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Businesses and Community
State and Civil
Gatherings and Events
Governor's Executive Orders
Prevention for Individuals
Practice Social Distancing
The more you are apart from others, the more you are protected from COVID-19 transmission. The virus spreads easily between those eating together, talking together, or attending events.
- Avoid non-essential trips outside your home.
- If you are 65 or older, or in poor health, avoiding exposure to others is especially important (see precautions below).
- Keep at least 6 feet apart from others when you are outside your home.
- Avoid crowds, social gatherings and community events. Don't gather with those outside your household members. If you eat out or visit stores, restaurants or bars, keep your trips short and wear a cloth face covering.
- Gathering outdoors is safer than gathering indoors. Masks and social distancing are still needed outdoors.
- Follow restrictions on indoor and outdoor gathering sizes.
Wear a Mask or Face Covering
Combined with social distancing, face coverings are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 transmission to others and to yourself. Face covering is especially important when a distance of at least 6 feet cannot easily be maintained between persons.
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering whenever you are around others who do not live with you.
- Wear a mask even if you have been vaccinated to prevent possible transmission of COVID-19 to others.
- Wear a non medical-grade cloth mask, either manufactured or one you make yourself, when shopping, running errands, or otherwise away from home. Reserve medical-grade masks (surgical or N-95 masks) for use by healthcare workers and first responders.
- A face shield is not an effective substitute for a mask.
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.
Be Tested If You Are Sick or May Have Been Exposed
Free COVID-19 testing and testing from local healthcare providers is now widely available.
- 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 symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones, or you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, make an appointment for local or free testing.
- If you have been tested for COVID-19, stay home and away from others until you get your test result. Learn more »
Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19
Vaccination offers excellent protection against illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
- Free vaccinations are available for eligible adults at MSDH drive-through sites statewide.
- Local health clinics. physicians, pharmacies and providers also offer COVID-19 vaccination.
Families, Women and Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer specialized recommendations for:
Adults 65 and Older, and 16-64 with Medical Conditions
All Mississippi residents aged 65 or older, or 16 and older with serious chronic medical conditions, should avoid all social gatherings outside of the household or any in-person mass gathering, including religious ceremonies, or sporting events, until fully protected by an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Full vaccine effectiveness occurs two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and 28 days after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
See below for a list of high-risk medical conditions, along with a list of who is currently eligible to be vaccinated.
Prevention in the Community
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
COVID-19 spreads easily when people gather in groups with those outside their household. Remember, you can infect others even if you do not feel sick yourself.
- Avoid gatherings of any kind, especially indoors, where at least six feet of distance from others cannot be maintained.
- For best protection for yourself and others, wear a mask at all gatherings with individuals not from your own household.
The Governor has ordered the following statewide restrictions on gatherings:
- Indoor arena attendance is limited to 50% or less of full capacity to ensure at least 6 feet of separation between those from different households.
- Organized school events for kindergarten through grade 12 have special face covering and social distance requirements. More details »
See a summary of the Governor's orders for details and restrictions on additional venues.
Businesses and Workplaces
- Masks or face coverings are strongly encouraged for employees in contact with the public, and for all employees when a separation of at least six feet cannot be maintained between others.
- 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.
Restaurants and bars
- For the best protection for yourself and others, wear a mask inside restaurants and bars when your are not eating or drinking.
Long-Term Care Facilities
Residents in long-term care facilities such nursing homes and assisted living facilities are at high risk from COVID-19, and the virus can spread quickly in these environments.
- Do not visit these facilities if you feel ill or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- Visit family members only, and avoid contact with other residents.
- Wear a mask at all times inside these facilities.
Schools, Colleges and Universities
All persons must wear a mask or cloth face covering inside K-12 school buildings or outdoors on school grounds when at least six feet of distance from those not in your household cannot be maintained. Governor's order 1549 »
The Mississippi State Department of Health has created guidelines to assist school administrators in re-opening decisions during COVID-19 and in addressing cases, exposure and quarantine.
School Events (K-12)
Organized extracurricular school events (including sports events, music and theater performances and others) for kindergarten through grade 12 are subject to these restrictions:
- Attendance at outdoor events is limited to 50% of the venue's seating capacity to ensure social distancing of at least six feet between persons from different households.
- Attendance at indoor events is limited to a maximum of 25% of seating capacity.
- Face coverings should be worn indoors at school events by those age 6 and older when closer than six feet from others not of the same household.
- Indoors or outdoors, strive to maintain a distance of six feet or more from those not in your household.
- See the restrictions on arena limits in the Social Gatherings section above.
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:
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.
Funeral Homes and Mortuaries
MSDH has specific guidance for services of this type.
Correctional and Detention Facilities
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.
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.