Gilich: It will not be ‘business as usual’

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich told the Biloxi City Council today that the plan was to consider the guidelines needed to re-open such venues as restaurants and churches as leaders continue to look for a downward trajectory in newly identified cases of the coronavirus.

Gilich was involved in an hourlong teleconference with fellow mayors and other leaders, including state leaders, this morning and gave an update during a City Council meeting this afternoon.

There’s sentiment, he said, to begin the process of reopening the economy, with guidance from the White House plan and guidance from the Governor.

“We are making an effort to organize our thoughts on sector-by-sector, and what was evident throughout the whole thing today was to minimize a second wave or reoccurrence.”

Added the mayor: “We have sort of a bying opportunity. People will be coming to Biloxi, to enjoy our gaming experience as well as vacation because I think we are safer than the average bear. We need to do it the right way, and if something spikes up, and we have that contact tracing involved, we know how to isolate it and keep from going exponential.

“That’s why it’s important to do it the right way.”

“If we have a second wave that even hits us for a couple weeks, we are really in a bad way ’til the end of the year.”

The numbers reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health:

— 204 new positive COVID-19 cases reported with 14 additional deaths statewide

–Six new positive COVID-19 cases reported with no new deaths in Harrison County

Other coastal countries are seeing a similar trend of new cases daily and coast hospitals are still testing and admitting COVID patients.

Even though the rate appears to be slowing down, cases continue to appear daily.

A consensus from the mayors meeting today showed that leaders are anxious to begin the reopening process but caution to not move to quickly or prematurely.

Gilich also told councilmembers that he planned on returning most of the 176 employees who had been on paid administrative leave — sheltering place — next week. The plan is to check all employees daily for symptoms and employ social distancing.

Non-emergency municipal buildings will not immediately reopen to the public for routine business.

During the mayor’s report this afternoon, Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard reported that the city’s 600-plus-employee workforce recorded only 11 positive COVID-19 cases, and none in the past week. Ten of the original cases were in the Fire Department and all of those are fully recovered and back to work. 

Leonard also spoke to finances in the mayor’s report: “The loss of tax revenue is, of course, a cause for much concern and we are taking steps to reduce expenses,” he said. “We have taken a number of steps to reduce our spending rate for the second half of this fiscal year.  We have carefully tracked all costs related to our COVID-19 personnel and purchasing actions, so as to be able to request assistance when available.

“The city was on budget at the end of March with revenues exceeding expenses, and that was without a full month of tax revenue in March.  April will, of course, be a different story, and we are awaiting our April revenue numbers.  When received we will be able to brief the council on any needed adjustments in our fiscal year 2020 budget.”
See the mayor’s report to the City Council today
See the White House plan for Opening up America Again

Today’s video: The latest numbers and an adventure

Today’s Be Prepared video update, presented by Public Affairs Specialist Cecilia Dobbs Walton, has the latest numbers, the latest advisories and an adventure that uncovers a treasure hidden in Biloxi.
Facebook: See today’s update
YouTube: See today’s update
See the overall tracking chart
See the daily comparison

News & notes: Weekly report, Senior Olympics

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 99 calls for service, including 46 medical emergencies and sixteen fires; the Police Department handled 2,273 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 41 building permits with a construction valuation of more than $325,000; and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the reports covering last week, click here

Senior Olympics: The Mississippi Senior Olympics has postponed its 2020 May events until a later date because of the coronavirus. To see more about the senior Olympics, click here.