City leaders have taken more action, including setting an earlier city-wide curfew, in an effort to battle the spread of COVID-19 within Yazoo City.
During Wednesday’s special call meeting with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the council modified the city-wide curfew to begin at 9 p.m., two hours earlier from the previous 11 p.m. curfew.
The city council also adopted a stay-at-home order for all residents, stating that citizens should only leave their homes if they are essential employees or to pick up food, beverages and medicine.
Alderman Sir Johnathan Rucker abstained from the order to modify the city-wide curfew. He said he is supportive of keeping the citizens within Yazoo City safe. But he said he is concerned with how the curfew will be enforced by the local law enforcement.
“My issue is not about having a curfew,” he said. “My issue is what are we doing once we put these things in place. I am all for keeping the city safe. The real issue is what we are supposed to be doing to enforce this because we are not doing it.”
Mayor Diane Delaware admits that the manpower within the police force is not where it needs to be. But she said she feels confident in the police department in enforcing the city-wide curfew and other orders.
Delaware also said non-essential businesses within Yazoo City shall not be open for operation.
“We can’t close businesses where people get food, water…” Delaware said. “Some businesses are essential and will have to remain open. We can’t close down the whole town.”
Alderwoman Elizabeth Thomas said she is supportive of the modified curfew and other orders. But she said the rules must apply to all citizens, leaving no room for favoritism to be shown to select people. Both Thomas and Rucker said some orders have been ignored openly by people within city leadership roles, including allowing more than ten people to attend funerals.
“Make sure these (orders) apply to all, not just select citizens,” Thomas added.
“They don’t apply to me,” Delaware replied. “I will be out sometimes. I am an essential employee of Yazoo City. I supervise all employees who have to be out.”
The city council also ordered closing businesses that make it impossible to remain six feet apart, such as hair, nail or tanning salons.
“Most are already closing on their own,” Delaware added.
The board also said that no more than five people can gather at one time at any place. And the fines for violating any emergency proclamation set by the city council increased to $1,000.