Gov. Reeves lifts statewide mask mandate

Gov. Tate Reeves
Gov. Tate Reeves(WTOK)
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 2:09 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Wednesday that his statewide mask mandate expired at 5 p.m.

Reeves said actions of the public in complying with the mask order over the past few weeks have made a big difference in limiting spread of coronavirus.

“We fought that summer wave without shutting down our businesses,” said the governor. “We took a lot of heat for that."

He said the average of new cases has been cut in half from its highest point. Hospitalizations have been cut by 2-thirds.

“I have always tried to stress the important balance of this time: we cannot allow our system to collapse, and we should not use the heavy-hand of government more than it is justified,” said Reeves. “We have to tailor our actions to the current threat, and make sure that they do not go beyond what is reasonable.”

Wednesday at 5 p.m. the current executive order and mask mandate will expire. A new one keeps some limits on social gatherings and bars and outdoor events. There will still be mask requirements at schools. There will also still be mask requirements for attending high school and college football games, the governor said. The new order is in effect until Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

Reeves announced his new comprehensive Safe Recovery order as a one-stop resource for Mississippians as we continue to flatten the curve on new COVID-19 cases.

Read it below:

Replacing the Safe Return order and its amendments, Gov. Reeves has combined all social distancing measures into one executive order to ensure understanding and keep people better informed.

Under the new executive order, some social distancing restrictions have been eased as our new COVID-19 case numbers continue to improve. A few of the relaxed restrictions include increasing attendance at outdoor K-12 extracurricular events such as football games to 50% of seating capacity, limiting group gatherings when you are unable to social distance to no more than 20 indoors and 100 outdoors, and requiring masks for schools and close contact businesses like salons and barbershops.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says three counties have seen a 5 percent increase that is concerning: Jones, Lamar and Lee.

The governor added Lafayette, DeSoto, Jackson, Hinds and Itawamba.

Both Reeves and Dobbs emphasized that the absence of a state mandate for masks does not mean that all people don’t need to use and wear them. They pointed out that people who are vulnerable and people in large groups or confined to smaller spaces should continue to wear masks when appropriate or they feel the need.

Reeves and Dobbs were also asked about the wisdom of lifting the mask mandate at a time when a statewide election is looming Nov. 3. Reeves pointed out there have been primary elections and special elections held safely in this state this year and that the federal election can also be conducted safely. However, both said wearing a mask to go vote is wise, and they pointed out that people 65 and over may vote by absentee ballot if they believe their health may be compromised by going to the polls on Election Day. No one is prevented from wearing a mask.

Copyright 2020 WTOK. All rights reserved.