COVID-19 Guidance and Prevention for Individuals and the Community

Updated November 24, 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

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.) If you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, quarantine is also important to protect others.
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Preventing COVID-19: Recommendations and Requirements


Businesses and Community

State and Civil

Gatherings and Events

Governor's Executive Orders

Special restrictions in high-case counties: Gatherings in Alcorn, Attala, Benton, Bolivar, Carroll, Chickasaw, Chocktaw, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Hinds, Humphreys, Itawamba, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lafayette, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Neshoba, Panola, Perry, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Rankin, Stone, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Winston and Yalobusha counties are limited to 10 indoors, and 50 outdoors in situations where social distancing is not possible. Masks must be worn indoors in public places when a distance of six feet cannot be maintained between groups from different households. See Executive Orders 1527, 1530, 1531 and 1532 »

Prevention for Individuals

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.

  • 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

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.
  • Limit your contact with others when you are away from home, especially in indoor settings.
  • Limit your contact with visitors and with other members of your household who are frequently in public places.
  • 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 consistent social distancing. Pay closer attention to hygiene and cleanliness.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after being in public places.

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

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

Gathering limits are lower in certain counties with high rates of COVID-19. Find out more »

  • Wearing a mask or face covering is strongly recommended at all gatherings.
  • Large gatherings, especially indoors, are discouraged. Gatherings and group activities are limited to 20 people indoors and 100 people outdoors if individuals from different households are closer than six feet apart, by order of the Governor.
  • Limits on gathering sizes do not apply to students in classrooms, voting precincts and religious entities.
  • Arena attendance is limited to 25% or less of full capacity.
  • Outdoor sports events must ensure at least six feet of separation between individuals not of the same household. Face coverings are encouraged for those attending these events. At college and university stadiums, face coverings are required for anyone over five years old when not seated, unless at least six feet of separation can be maintained between individuals not in the same household.
  • Organized school events for kindergarten through grade 12 have special face covering and social distance requirements. More details »
  • 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, gyms, restaurants and bars must limit the number of customers to no greater than 75% capacity. At least six feet between individuals of different households must be maintained.
  • 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.
  • Employees of businesses such as salons and tattoo services which involve close contact with customers must wear a face covering at all times, and customers must use a face covering at all times when it does not interfere with receiving service.
  • 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 75% 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.

Schools, Colleges and Universities

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

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 all extracurricular events is limited to 25% of the venue's seating capacity indoors, and to 50% outdoors (excluding school personnel, medical personnel and media) as long as space is available to ensure social distancing of at least six feet between persons from different households.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by those over five years old when not seated, and any time when closer than six feet to 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.
  • Face coverings are still strongly recommended at outdoor events even while social distancing.

Youth Sports

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.

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.

Get COVID-19 e-mail updates daily with our free newsletter: 
Last reviewed on Oct 1, 2020
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U Contact and information

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