Less restrictions at the Seabee base to lead to economic boost

Military bases in South Mississippi have long been a mainstay and critical to our overall economy, especially during COVID shutdowns considering our local bases depend on the federal budget, which was already set, resulting in more stability for our area during and as the country comes back from the pandemic.

They’re used to traveling the world, but even the Seabees have been quarantined for much of the past year, under the most restrictive levels of force protection, to help in the fight against COVID.

Just a few days ago, the Seabees were given the green light to ease some of the base’s Coronavirus restrictions. Commanding Officer Captain Jeff Powell said, “Late Friday night we were notified that we could move to a lesser health protection condition to open up more freedoms, and less restrictions for our sailors here and that was welcome news.”

Good news travels fast, especially at a small-town barbershop. Charlie Molesworth with Ray’s Barbershop said, “It’s great for us because these military people get their hair cut every week or two. We’ve actually been anticipating this. I’ve actually hired some new help here anticipating the rush.”

Molesworth served more than seven years in the U.S. military. He serves his country now armed with new equipment, shearing scissors and a comb, at Ray’s Barbershop in Long Beach.

He’s excited to see the Seabees swarm back to South Mississippi businesses and especially the help they’ll contribute to getting local business owners get back on their feet after COVID cut into their bottom line. “The Seabees bring a lot to the local economy. Hopefully, with this new-found freedom they have, we’ll see an uptick in some businesses around here.”

“The biggest difference is dine-in restaurants. We were not able to go out to eat. It was all take-out before Friday night. We were also not able to do non-essential shopping. People were also not able to go to sports activities, upcoming graduations. That was a concern of our sailors. Now, at least for right now, they are able to go out and take advantage of these things. It’s a great quality of life boost.”

While a number of COVID restrictions have been lifted at the base, Seabee leaders still stress the importance of social distancing and taking other safety measures. “Everybody has to do their part. We’re doing that on base. You’ll see us more out in town. We’re happy to be here.”

Categories: Harrison County, Local News, News

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