Mississippi isn’t being shut down, and the National Guard has not been deployed to put Mississippians under military control.
The social media rumor mill has been working overtime about why the National Guard has been deployed.
Gov. Tate Reeves signed Executive Order 1459 on Monday, March 16, to assist in the state’s defense against the COVID-19 coronavirus. At this time, the guard is setting up testing stations around the state including in Warren, Coahoma, LeFlore, Adams, Pearl River and Harrison counties, according to Mississippi Rep. Kevin Ford.
“First, let me address the rumor that the government is going to order a complete shut down of our state. I am not aware of any such plan,” Ford wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. “Yesterday, I was in a meeting with representatives of the Governor’s office, the Lt. Gov., the head of the Department of Health, the head of MEMA, and the General of the National Guard. At no time during that meeting was any mention made of any sort of shut down. Furthermore, I had a conversation this morning with Brad White, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, and I asked him directly if there was a plan to order any sort of shut down. He said no.
“All that has been done is a request to stay home as much as you can. Restaurants have been asked to consider going to take out only. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations are all open, and I am not aware of any plan to order them closed.”
The Mississippi National Guard responded to the rumors with the following statement:
The MSNG Soldiers and Airmen are ready to respond in defense of COVID-19 to promote safety and wellness throughout our state.
Governor Tate Reeves signed Executive Order No. 1459 on March 16, 2020, that activates the MSNG in further support, response and prevention of COVID-19.
This Executive Order allows Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, to utilize our force in such a way as he deems necessary to support state and local civil authorities. The MSNG leadership is working in coordination with state agencies such as the COVID-19 State Task Force including Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi State Department of Health to clearly define the MSNG’s mission and implement resources as a supporting agency.
Once activated, the missions of the MSNG will primarily consist of humanitarian support efforts. Examples of these missions could include logistical support, supply distribution, site set-up and support at drive-thru screening facilities in addition to supporting local and state civil authorities.
We are committed to keeping the public informed every step of the way during our efforts to diminish the spread of the Coronavirus in Mississippi. To alleviate any concerns stemming from various social media posts being shared from unofficial and/or false sources, we are encouraging the citizens of Mississippi to only receive information regarding the MSNG, its mission and coordinated support through official sources. The official social media sources of the MSNG:
In response to some of the negative or indifferent posts we’ve read on various social media accounts, the MSNG wants to reassure the citizens of Mississippi that Martial Law, or any other form of military control is not an option and is not being enacted.
The Stafford Act of 1988, which a lot of these posts are confusing with Martial Law, does not have a provision that would allow the federal government to declare such a military based mission.
In fact, the Stafford Act of 1988 is a federal law designed to bring orderly and systematic means of disaster relief and assistance to state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens. It is a way of providing for, not controlling, U.S. citizens
As the MSNG prepares to support and assist our state, local and federal partners, we cannot stress enough, the importance of maintaining good order and a safe environment for all first responders, medical personnel and any and all support elements during these trying times.
This is a dynamic situation and the MSNG will adapt to any changes in the situation to ensure we accomplish our assigned missions working alongside our agency partners, such as the MDHS, MEMA, state agencies and the CDC. The MSNG remains committed to the health and safety of our men and women in uniform, their families, and the communities in which we serve.See a typo? Report it here.