Photo by Sue WatsonLynda Davis, with Davis Financial Service, wipes down the door at the entrance to her business in HollySprings.
Slowing the spread of virus
A walk around downtown Holly Springs last week on March 17 saw the city gearing up for action to protect itself, its businesses, and its citizens from COVID-19, a pandemic respiratory virus that causes pneumonia.
Likewise, Marshall County has a plan in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus was identified in
December, first showing its fuzzy crown in a province in China.
Action to prevent the spread of the virus in the United States was not really taken seriously until late February and early March.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 320 cases in Mississippi with one death, according to media reports.
Actions the public can take to protect themselves and others from getting the virus began in earnest the week of March 15.
Reactions in Holly Springs, beginning with an interview with Mayor Kelvin Buck last week, brought out some of the following. But the response locally is of a fluid nature with the closings of schools, some state offices, and some concerned businesses to walk-in traffic.
Here are some of Buck's updates:
• Senior Citizens' Day at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, scheduled for Saturday March 28, is cancelled.
• the Holly Springs youth baseball season is postponed as well as all city-sponsored sports events or activities.
• the Mississippi Legislature suspended its 2020 session until April.
• the Secretary of State's office is closed to the public.
• the Marshall County Health Department is the lead agency locally and the state Health Department at the state level.
• private medical providers worked on their individual plans to protect the public and advised those who are sick with any flu-like symptoms on what to do. Call before coming in, most said, and report your symptoms.
• Holly Springs City Hall is closed until April 6.
• Holly Springs police officers will step up patrolling of businesses who may close temporarily. The Holly Springs Fire Department will be available at all times.
• the Holly Springs School District will provide pickup of daily lunches between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Old Sims Campus on West Valley Street.
• groups who already had events planned at the multipurpose center will have to reschedule or cancel the event.
• Rust College is closed for the rest of the spring module.
• only necessary personnel will be at the Holly Springs Board of Aldermen meetings.
• all travel for training at conferences was suspended.
• Behind the Big House and the Holly Springs Pilgrimage have been postponed.
On Monday of this week, Holly Springs adopted a proclamation concerning the operation of businesses and other activities in the city limits during the pandemic. That proclamation is included in its entirety in this edition of the paper, on Section 2, Page 6.
Chancery clerk Chuck Thomas provided this additional information about county operations:
• the Marshall County Courthouse was closed to walk-in traffic as of last Friday, but someone will be at the door to assist anyone who has business to take care of,
He added, “Here in Marshall County, activity is a moving target. We are operatinghour-by-hour. Also, a big thank you to trucking firms and truck drivers. Without them we are/have nothing.”
• Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said his office is focusing on anything that is an absolute emergency as far as business at the sheriff’s office. All minor matters will be put on hold until the state of emergency has been lifted, he said. There will be someone in the lobby to handle any requests as usual, he said.
• all departments in county government are open but operations may change a bit, according to District 1 supervisor Charles Terry. He said the county road department has sent everyone below the foreman and assistant foreman level home, but they can be called in if needed for any action.
Terry said the county was concerned that crews not be riding together in trucks at this time.
• the Marshall County Library in Holly Springs is closed until further notice.
• the jail is shut for visitors.
• a three-day rodeo at the Marshall County Fairgrounds was cancelled.
• the county quarantined one employee who had travelled to Israel for 14 days.
• County coroner James Richard Anderson was called to a mandatory emergency meeting in Sardis Tuesday night, March 17. Anderson said one thing they are going to do is to increase the number of body bags on hand at the coroners’ offices.
• the Marshall County School District is distributing grab-and-go meals at drive-up locations at Byhalia High School, Galena School, Potts Camp High School and H.W. Byers School.
• the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered all circuit courts closed under an emergency order for all in-person events for eight weeks. The number of individuals in the courtrooms will be restricted to no more than 10 persons. Witnesses will not be required to travel from infected areas. No jury summonses will be issued until May 18. Individual judges can suspend anything to May 15.
• the Marshall County Historical Museum is closed through the week of April 15.
Since the situation on the ground is fluid, these and other activities are subject to change at any time by order of the President or Governor Tate Reeves.
Reeves has ordered all public schools closed until April 17.
The Marshall County COVID-19 Action Plan, approved by the board of supervisors, is included on page 3.
• some churches are cancelling services, including historic Asbury United Methodist Church and Christ Episcopal Church, until further notice. Heritage Apos tolic Church will be live-streaming church services and Heritage Christian Aca demy will live-stream classes online.
• Bethany Baptist Church in Potts Camp is closed. The situation will be reevaluated April 5.
• Holly Springs First United Methodist Church services will be live streamed on Facebook. All other church activities are discontinued until more decisions are made, said pastor Jeff Tollison. Call 601- 867-1970 to speak with Tollison.
• Holly Springs Church of Christ has cancelled Bible study at 10 a.m. on Sundays and Wednesday night services. The church held an 11 a.m. worship service this past Sunday, but it will likely go to live streaming on Sunday, March 29.
• Christ Episcopal Church suspended services until March 23 when the matter will be assessed again.
• Mt. Moriah MB Church on Marianna Road is closed for services until further notice. Call Pastor Artwell Craft at 901- 413-7613 for further information.
• First Baptist Church of Holly Springs is streaming Sunday worship services at 10:15 a.m. on its Facebook page and taking it week by week. Visit First Baptist Church Holly Springs MS on Facebook to listen to the service.
• Asbury United Methodist Church has not held Sunday worship for weeks March 15 and 22. The decisions for services, for now, is on a week-toweek basis, according to Connie Williams with the church office.
• Hamilton Chapel CME Church in Waterford held Sunday services March 22.
• Anderson Chapel CME Church in Holly Springs is holding services online for the next few weeks, according to Pastor William S. Banks. Check their Facebook page for further information.
• Most other churches across the county have also made changes in services.
In order to decrease the risk of spreading COVID 19, the offices at Byhalia Town Hall are closed. Payments are accepted through the drivethrough window and drop box. For further information call 662-838-2135 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. After 5 p.m. please call the Byhalia Police Department for any emergency needs at 662-838- 6000.
The Town of Potts Camp has also closed its offices to the public. Payments may be placed in the drop box. Contact the town clerk or maintenance department at 662-333-7285 if there is a problem with services.