Jones County Chamber’s Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

General Info & Guidelines

The Jones County Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing our local community and future visitors with the most current and relevant information available during the COVID-19 crisis. If you have questions about the resources listed below or suggestions for new information to add, please reach out to our Chamber team. We hope you all stay safe!
(601) 335-4828 or

Governor Tate Reeves has issues a new Safe Return order that takes effect on Monday, June 1 at 8:00 AM.

In this order, all businesses and non-profits in Mississippi are allowed to open, following CDC and Mississippi State Department of Health guidance to limit transmission. Businesses and non-profits are encouraged to continue allowing employees to work from home or telework. Additional guidelines have been released for youth sports, movie theaters, libraries, museums and indoor recreational facilities; summarized HERE, or in Executive Order 1491 and Executive Order 1492.


Executive Order 1492 includes changes to the size of gatherings, including:

  • When social distancing is not possible, groups are limited to 20 people or less indoors and 50 people or less outdoors.
  • When social distancing is possible, groups are limited to 50 people or less indoors and 100 people or less outdoors.


View the social distancing and sanitation protocols below for the following industries as they are now being allowed to reopen:

Salons, barbershops and gyms (EO1480)
Restaurants (EO1478)
Outdoor Recreation
Worship Guidelines
Executive Order 1478  | Executive Order 1480 – Safer at Home – Salons & Gym

Reopening Guidelines

The Chamber hosted an interactive webinar on May 6 with Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s State Health Officer, and Dr. Mark Horne, Chief Medical Officer at South Central Regional Medical Center. The panelists provided updates on the local COVID-19 numbers and response, and then took questions from Chamber members pertaining to steps to take to safely reopen their doors to employees and customers. The webinar may be viewed HERE. password: 8h%&9^^@

National Guides & Resources

Business Resources

Business Assistance Programs

NEW Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program

On May 20, Governor Tate Reeves signed SB2772 into law, establishing the Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program. The grants will be used to help businesses in Mississippi with 50 or fewer employees recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. Companies that meet eligibility requirements could qualify for up to $25,000 based on the number of employees. The Mississippi Development Authority soon will begin accepting applications on this site from small businesses. Please check back frequently for updates or sign up below for email notifications.

Eligibility Requirements  |  Application


FedEx Support Small Business Grant

  • Application available>> HERE
  • You must be older than 18; be a U.S.-based for-profit small business in operation and selling for more than 1 year, with less than 50 employees; have less than $5 million in annual sales revenue in 2019; and have shipped in the last 12 months and/or plan to ship in the coming 12 months as part of your business. Non-profits, franchised businesses, direct-seller/reseller businesses, independent consultants and previous winners in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest are not eligible to apply for this grant.

Small Business Administration Assistance Program Governor Tate Reeves’s request for an Economic Disaster Declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration was approved on March 20.The entire state of Mississippi has been declared a disaster for COVID-19 which opens up disaster loan assistance for small businesses and eligible non-profits for economic injury relief. All Mississippi businesses and non-profits that are severely impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) may apply for up to $2 million in working capital that can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,

Advance on EIDL Loans
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which includes the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.

If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit as soon as possible to fill out a NEW, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.

The SBA has reported scams about the EIDLs, and as of now, there are no immediate deadlines to apply, there are no fees to apply and no credit card information is required.
(source U.S. Small Business Administration)

Facebook Small Business Grants

Hotels for Hope: Government agencies and public health officials across the country are seeking hoteliers who are willing to enter into temporary leases for certain types of lodging properties at this time. The American Hotel & Lodging Association is creating a database of willing properties in order to meet the demand for housing capacity during the pandemic.
Details  |  Sign Up Form

The National Restaurant Association Educational Fund set up the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help restaurant industry employees experiencing hardship in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Through this fund, $500 grants will be made to industry employees on a first-come-first served bases.
MHRA relief fund   |  Apply for the NRAEF Grant



$2 Trillion CARES Act Signed by President Trump: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
What Small Businesses Need to Know – New Details On:
>>Small Business “Paycheck Protection Program”
>>Changes to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans
>>Unemployment Programs
>>Paid Leave Changes

U.S. Chamber Summary  |  MEC Summary

The CARES Act includes a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. The PPP prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

US Chamber Fact Sheet for PPP  | info for PPP

Under this program:

  • Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
  •  If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.

Borrowers may apply for different SBA loans – PPP loans, EIDL loans, non-disaster SBA 7(a), 504 and microloans, and also receive investment capital from Small Business Investment Corporations (SBICs). However, you cannot use your PPP loan for the same purpose as your other SBA loan(s). If you accept the EIDL loan, and you subsequently qualify for the PPP loan, you can re-finance the EIDL loan with the PPP loan.

PPP Guidelines for Applicants & Lenders

Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap. Additional information available,

PPP Loan Forgiveness Information 


Families First Coronavirus Response Act

What Employers Need To Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
FAQ Sheet for Businesses-1 | FAQ Sheet for Businesses-2  |  Emergency Leave Request Form
HR6201 Bill Details

U.S. Department Of Labor Announces Additional Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
News Release w/ LinksEmployee Rights Poster  |  Employer Requirements  |  Guide from the US Chamber

Unemployment Claims

Mississippi Department of Employment Security: How to file unemployment claims
MDES announced that Mississippi workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 are eligible to file for unemployment benefits. Based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor and Governor Tate Reeves, MDES is modifying existing unemployment compensation rules to include:

  • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,
  • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employers due to COVID-19 concerns,
  • Those who are diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • Or, those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Website  |  Facebook  |  File a Claim

Take-Out & Delivery Options

The Chamber has set up a public group on Facebook where restaurants are posting updates to their hours and adjusted services.
Click HERE to join and follow the group.

Jones County Attractions

Updates (as of 6/23/20)

  • OPEN

    • Bok Homa Casino: closed until further notice; “As eager as we are to welcome back our associates and guests, we think it prudent to wait a while longer,” said William “Sonny” Johnson, president and CEO of Pearl River Resort. “For the well-being of our associates and guests, we have robust protocols in place that include everything from strict safety and sanitation measures to installation of new top-of-the line cleaning technology.”
    • YWCO of Laurel: As of Monday 3/23/20 we have made the decision to cancel any groups or clubs meeting in more than 10. Any groups of 10 or less will need to use social distancing of 6ft apart. We will re-evaluate weekly to make any adjustments.

Local Government, Schools & Services

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency

MSEMA ResourcesMEMA FAQ  |  Covid-19 Testing Sites

Jones County Emergency Operations Center

Updates on Jones County government agencies, departments and services.
Facebook Page | Modified Operations & Updates

South Central Regional Medical Center

SCRMC Resource Page   |  SC Telehealth Press Release  |  Visitation Policy

From the City of Laurel – Update on City Facilities & Meetings

Statement from Mayor Magee – March 18, 2020
Statement from Mayor Magee – March, 24, 2020
Executive Order No. MA-6 from Mayor Magee – March 26, 2020

From the Jones County Board of Supervisors

Please be advised that Jones County buildings are now closed to any walk-in traffic due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please call the Board of Supervisors at (601) 428-3139 during normal business hours for assistance. We encourage all business to be conducted by e-mail, mail or telephone. The courts will remain open.

  • Chancery Clerk – (601) 428-0527
  • Chancery Court – (601) 428-3623
  • Circuit Clerk – (601) 425-2556
  • Circuit Court – (601) 428-4572
  • Board of Supervisors – (601) 428-3139
  • Tax Assessor/Collector – (601) 426-3248


Comcast has been coordinating with emergency management, health officials and other government leaders to support the collective effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Recently, Comcast announced the implementation of the following new policies for the next 60 days to Keep America Connected:

  • Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone
  • No Disconnects or Late Fees
  • Internet Essentials Free to New Customers
  • News, Information and Educational Content on X1 and Flex
  • 24×7 Network Monitoring
  • Coronavirus Webpage
  • Additional Information Available HERE

Chamber Statements

Friday, March 13, 2020

On behalf of the Jones County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, we want to share with you that the health and safety of our members and entire community remain our top priorities. Due to the concern and precautionary measures already being taken to control the spread of COVID-19, the Chamber is suspending all of our meetings and events through the end of March. We will continue to monitor this unprecedented situation and reference the advice of our government agencies and elected officials as decisions are made about Chamber meetings and events scheduled for April and beyond.

Our staff will continue to be available to serve you, and we encourage you to call, 601-649-3031 or 601-335-4828, or e-mail our team,, with any questions, issues or inquiries.

As employers, no matter your size, we understand that there will be an added burden on your businesses due to the impact of COVID-19. There are many resources available to assist you in developing strategies to protect your workforce while ensuring continuity of operations. Please review the links below provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which are based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also will continue to share relevant resources with you as they become available.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Chamber, and if there is anything that we can do to support you during this time, please let us know.

Message to Chamber Members on March 24, 2020

The Chamber continues to diligently monitor the COVID-19 crisis, and there are multiple updates that we wanted to share with our membership. First, on behalf of the Chamber Board, we are thinking of you, all of you, during this unprecedented time. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Chamber team if you have any questions about the information we are sharing, requests for resources or issues that we need to address. Please call 601-649-3031 or 601-335-4828, or e-mail our team,

The Chamber Board voted this week to suspend all Chamber programs and in-person meetings for the month of April. This unfortunately includes the April 24 Member Golf Tournament. We are working on options for this event and others, and please continue to check this weekly update and our social pages, @jonescountychamber on Facebook and Instagram. Events in May and beyond will be evaluated on a monthly basis.

Thank you to our healthcare, pharmacy, grocery, restaurant and other members who are serving Jones County on the front lines. You are our heroes right now, and your efforts are truly making an impact on our community.


May 19, 2020

The Jones County Chamber of Commerce is offering Disaster Relief Micro Grants for Chamber members. Members must be in good standing, have 25 or fewer employees and meet additional requirements, as noted on the application form. Applications will be accepted online beginning Wednesday, May 20 at 12:00 PM through May 29 at 5:00 PM. Grants will be awarded between $300-500, as funds are available. The Disaster Relief Micro Grant program is made possible by Mississippi Power and Dixie Electric.