As locally owned businesses face unprecedented threats from the coronavirus, Fondren Renaissance Foundation President Roy Campbell has assembled a task force to monitor its impacts on the Jackson community and to make recommendations and decide best practices to keep residents and the business community healthy.
Members of the task force include Tom Fortner of University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jeff Good of Mangia Bene Restaurant Management Group, Jude Muse of Treehouse Boutique, Trace Swartzfager of St. Dominic's Hospital and Eddie Prosser of Corner Market.
"We are fortunate to have Tom and Trace who can link to our medical experts at UMMC and St. Dominic; Jeff, Jude and Eddie will be our liaisons to the business district," Campbell said in a release announcing the task force. "If you need to shop, we encourage you to shop smartly and consider that your small, locally owned stores and neighborhood restaurants may be a safer bet that a big box store or chain restaurant."
FRF Executive Director Rebecca Garrison, who gathers and distributes business and neighborhood information via email and online at fondren.org, explained this morning to the Jackson Free Press what the foundation is doing to try to support local businesses through the coronavirus outbreak locally.
Read breaking coverage of COVID-19 in Mississippi, plus safety tips, cancellations, more in the JFP's archive.
"We've been putting a series of plans in place at our restaurants and businesses to protect customers and employees," Garrison told the Jackson Free Press.
"For one, there are no more common condiments like salt and pepper shakers or olive oil bottles being kept at tables in favor of individual packets. We've also been doing deep cleaning all day at every, focusing on takeout services, and keeping up with child care and any other needed issues for all employees."
For more information, call Garrison at 916-812-5678.
Still Open and Taking Precautions
The Mississippi Museum of Art galleries will remain open with regular hours free of charge.
Effective immediately and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Mississippi Department of Health, and the American Alliance of Museums, the museum is cleaning all public areas regularly, including extra cleanings in high-touch areas like bathrooms, doors, handles, countertops and visitor services desks. The museum has also installed hand sanitizing stations throughout the building
To increase social distance and prevent crowds in close quarters, the museum has cancelled or postponed all public programs scheduled between March 13 and April 9. Details on closures are available here.
The museum has also placed signage throughout the building to remind staff and volunteers about frequent and thorough hand washing and has suspended business-related travel for all staff. All hands-on materials in engagement spaces and other public locations in the museum have been removed to provide a touch-free environment.
MMA will announce any changes and updates to programs or hours via email, on its website at msmuseumart.org and on Facebook @msmuseumart.
Ardenland announced in a release that it will continue to present live music shows while taking extra precautions to keep venues clean and sanitary. Some shows and events are still being rescheduled or canceled, however, and Ardenland will keep customers updated on any closures via social media and email. In the event that a show is rescheduled, any ticket will be honored for the rescheduled show. If a show is canceled, Ardenland will refund tickets at point of sale, or customers can credit the ticket purchase towards a future show.
New Stage Theatre will remain open, and the theater has intensified its cleaning practices, including putting out anti-bacterial soap and additional hand sanitizer for guests as it becomes available, as well as disinfecting all high-touch surface areas. New Stage also will not recycle programs during performances. New Stage requests that any customers with tickets who begin feeling ill contact the Box Office at 601-948-3533 ext. 222 to exchange their tickets.
Malco Theatres will remain open and is taking additional measures to clean and sanitize its theaters, including increasing the deep-cleaning frequency of all areas where visitors have direct such as kiosks, counters, restrooms, auditoriums, seats and handrails.
The theater is also re-educating all team members on protocols for proper hand washing and personal hygiene and stressing that employees stay home when not feeling well. Malco is also limiting the seating in each auditorium to a maximum of 50% of its capacity to prevent crowded auditoriums.
Jackson Meal Drop-off Coalition
The UMMC Surgery Department, Association of Women Surgeons, UMMC Medical Students, the City of Jackson, Jackson Meals Matter Task Force, Jackson Fire Department, the People's Advocacy Institute, and Strong Arms of Jackson are collaborating to provide mobile meal dispatch and drop-off services for Jackson families in need.
Meals will cover breakfast and dinner for families as schools, business and other organizations close in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
Health-care professionals will guide meal drop off operations to ensure that volunteers adhere to safety measures. The coalition is also setting up systems to minimize one-on-one contact and group gatherings.
Families in need can call or text 615-946-4197 to set up a meal drop-off location and time. Coalition workers will monitor the mobile meal hotline 24 hours a day.
Email information, including closings, cancellations and postponements to [email protected]. That information will be added to this ongoing compilation of cancellations. Also, please send information about local businesses adding or increasing delivery and curbside pickup options for an upcoming business roundup.
Send news tips about COVID-19 testing and related issues to [email protected]. Read the JFP's full coronavirus coverage to date at jacksonfreepress.com/coronavirus.