Oxford easing restrictions on businesses during coronavirus pandemic

OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) — Oxford will allow more businesses to reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday, but employees and customers at all businesses must wear a face mask or covering.

Aldermen voted 6-1 Tuesday to allow many non-essential businesses to reopen earlier than the original plan on reopening them Saturday.

City leaders kept what it deemed non-essential businesses closed even though Governor Tate Reeves allowed most non-essential businesses in Mississippi to reopen on Monday. The governor’s order gave cities permission to implement stricter standards, which Oxford did.

And that will continue with the city giving the okay to reopen retailers like appliance stores, bookstores and furniture stores as well as businesses such as collection agencies, professional services and title companies.

For example, retailers in the city can only allow a limited number of customers — 30 percent of fire capacity or 5 customers for every 1,000 square feet. The state order allows 50 percent of capacity.

Also, the city is mandating face masks and coverings by employees and customers. The state is only recommending such coverings.

Oxford already required workers and customers at essential businesses to wear a face mask or covering, and it appears most people have no problem with that.

Police Chief Jeff McCutchen told aldermen and Mayor Robyn Tannehill Tuesday his officers conducted 220 to 225 business checks in recent days to make sure people were wearing masks. He said officers had only issued about 15 warnings as of Tuesday morning.