Michael Watson

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Secretary of State Michael Watson discusses COVID-19 cases in MS and the paycheck protection program.



COVID-19 Tips, Resources and Relief Efforts

Thursday, April 30, 2020



COVID-19 Cases in Mississippi

As of Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 6,815 COVID-19 cases and 261 deaths. There is still no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. As our state slowly starts to reopen, we must all remain committed to federal and state health guidelines. Continue to wash your hands as often as possible and avoid close contact with other people. Cover your coughs and sneezes and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If we all do our part, communities can remain healthy as the state’s economy slowly and safely reopens.

Click here to view COVID-19 cases, testing locations and safety tips.


Paycheck Protection Program

The second round of federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money is now available to Mississippi businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration started accepting applications on Monday, April 27, after running out of funds earlier this month.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Through April 16, 2020, the SBA has guaranteed 1,661,367 loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

The second round of funds are expected to go quickly, so we encourage all Mississippi businesses to submit an application as soon as possible. 

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

Click here to learn more about PPP loans.


2020 Census Operations Extended

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau is adjusting 2020 Census operations in order to protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees. Under the adjusted 2020 Census operational plan, field activities would resume after June 1, 2020, as area census offices begin returning to full staff capacity.

As of today, April 30, 2020, Mississippi has a 50.2% self-response rate, which means at least half of our state’s population has responded to the census online, by phone or by mail. You can help ensure a complete and accurate count for Mississippi by encouraging friends, family members, and neighbors to participate in this vital process. For every adult and every child that is not counted, our state will lose over $5,000 in federal dollars every year. That adds up to $50,000 per person over the next 10 years. When we all respond, we help shape a better future for communities all across our state. Help move Mississippi forward by responding to the census today.

Click here to respond to the 2020 Census.

Click here for important census dates.


Food Box Distribution Program

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting proposals from regional and local food distributors whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities. USDA, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, plans to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, diary, and meat to distribute to those in need.

Open solicitation opened Friday, April 24 and the application deadline is Friday, May 1. Awards are expected to be announced by May 8, and the program should be fully operational by May 15. USDA will award contracts for the purchase of the agricultural products, the assembly of commodity boxes and delivery to identified non-profit organizations that can receive and distribute to those in need.

Click here for more information.


Genuine Mississippi Food Supply

As meat-processing plants close across the country to stop the spread of coronavirus among employees, industry leaders are concerned about meat shortages in the nation’s grocery stores. Genuine MS, created by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, makes it easy for you to find products proudly created or produced by Mississippi farmers and entrepreneurs. The food supply source has an online catalog that includes products like beef, pork, poultry, dairy and fresh produce. Help our state economy grow by shopping local, not just during the pandemic, but all year round.

Click here to view Genuine MS products.

Executive Orders


Executive Order 1477 Executive Order 1477 establishes a statewide Safer at Home order for Mississippi.
Executive Order 1476 Executive Order 1476 implements school closures for the rest of the academic year.
Executive Order 1474 Executive Order 1474 delays the expiration of driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, intermediate licenses, firearm permits and security guard permits.
Executive Order 1473 Executive Order 1473 extends the statewide shelter-in-place order by 7 days.

Click here to view all Executive Orders.

Emergency Contact Information


Office of the Governor of Mississippi
Tate Reeves
(601) 359-3150
Mississippi State Department of Health (877) 978-6453

Mississippi Emergency
Management Agency
(601) 933-6362
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (800) 232-4636
Mississippi Department of Employment Security (601) 855-3133

1-888-844-3577 (toll-free)

1-888-772-0061 (toll-free)



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