Gilich: Face it, Biloxi. It’s time to mask up

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich today announced that when City Hall re-opens to the public Thursday morning, city staff working with the public will be wearing facemasks.

In fact, Gilich said, he has advised city department directors to make sure that all frontline city workers wear masks to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus. And the mayor has announced a plan where the city would give away thousands of masks to those driving to five locations throughout the city on Friday, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The locations: Dr. Frank G. Gruich Sr. Community Center, 591 Howard Ave.; Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd.; Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center, 170 Porter Ave.; Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center, 2520 Pass Road; and Fire Station 8, 8479 Woolmarket Road.

“All the leading health authorities are recommending that you wear face covering when in public and especially when you have to be in close contact with others,” Mayor Gilich says in a message recorded today and published on the city’s social media platforms.

At City Hall, and at all city facilities, Gilich said those employees who deal directly with the public will wear facemasks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Biloxi Police Department recently revived a mandatory mask policy for officers.

“If a city employee is speaking to a member of the public, the employee needs to have a mask on,” Gilich said. “It’s the safe and prudent thing to do. If you don’t want to wear a mask throughout the day when you are not near others, have it handy and use it when near others.”

The action comes as Harrison County is now averaging two dozen new cases per day by the mayor’s count, and after three City Hall staffers have tested positive for the virus. The city conducted tests of about 50 city employees and more tests are in the works based on the three positives

The city plans to give away masks that were provided for the public by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. The masks also are available regularly — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — at the Biloxi Visitors Center. Additionally, interested civic groups can call the fire chief’s office at 228-435-6200 for groups.

“Wearing masks is not the total answer,” Gilich said, “but wearing a mask, social distancing and staying away from crowds are all things to remember. If you feel sick stay home, see a doctor.”
Facebook: See the mayor’s message
YouTube: See the mayor’s message