Mississippi became the first state in the Union to revoke a mask mandate to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases drop.
The Mississippi statewide mask mandate has been in effect since August 4. Governor Tate Reeves Reeves, a Republican, has since chosen to extend the mandate several times. However, on Wednesday he said the declining number of confirmed virus cases and hospital admissions are positive developments requiring the lifting of some restrictions.
The new executive order ending the statewide mandate of the mask will take effect Wednesday at 5pm. and which expires on November 11 – after the presidential election – also limits group meetings where social distancing is not possible to 20 people indoors and 1
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, 823,185 COVID-19 tests were performed statewide. Mississippi currently has 98,886 cases of COVID-19 and 2,979 deaths.
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“I’m not extending the mandate of masks statewide, but I want to be clear, I still believe masks work,” Reeves said. “I think the facts and data in this country confirm this.”
Reeves said there will still be restrictions on the number of people who can enter restaurants, bars and other businesses. College football games are already happening in Mississippi, and Reeves said people will still be asked to wear masks while watching the games. The annual Mississippi State Fair begins next week in Jackson, and masks will be required for that event as well.
The governor said that if coronavirus cases recur, he would consider reinstating a masking mandate. Cities and towns are welcome to carry out their own masking mandates.
“There’s a difference between being wise and being a government mandate,” Reeves said. “We have to trust that the people of this country will take care of themselves and make wise decisions.