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Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves lifted the statewide mask mandate on Wednesday as the number of COVID-19 cases falls to an average of less than 500 a day. This order will expire on November 11 after the presidential election and does not apply to the voting precincts, religious entities, schools, and other “close contact” businesses like salons.
On August 4, Gov. Reeves placed the statewide mask mandate, extending several times and finally ended with the declining confirmed virus cases and hospitalizations number of COVID-19. However, the new order limits group gathering of 20 people indoors and 100 people for outdoor activities, making social distancing possible.
“For the heavy hand of government to tell you that you must do something, then the underlying conditions should justify it. When we were at our peak, and we were making those decisions, the numbers justified it. But because of the work and the effort of the people of Mississippi, we’re in a different spot now.”Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves
The governor also implied that cities and towns are welcome to mandate masks again as he would the same if the coronavirus cases rose again. The Mississippi State Department of Health conducted over 823,000 COVID-19 tests, where the state has 98,886 cases and 2,979 deaths.
“There is a difference between being wise and being a government mandate. We have to trust the people of this country to look after themselves and to make wise decisions.”Gov. Tate Reeves
Mississippi is the first state in the US to lift the mask mandate policy, where Gov. Reeves expressed his trust to the people of Mississippi to do the right thing. Reeves also clarified that he still believes that masks work, but he encourages people to be wise rather than a government mandate.
Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill tweeted that the city will not lift its requirement for people to wear masks inside public buildings on Wednesday afternoon. Tupelo and Meridian mask mandates are still in effect too.
There will still be restrictions on the number of guests who can dine-in in the restaurants, bars, and other businesses. People who will watch the ongoing college football games in Mississippi need to wear masks. The mask mandate will also apply to the upcoming annual Mississippi State Fair that starts next week in Jackson for the people who will attend the event.