State health officials still urging use of masks as mandate lifts in Mississippi

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 10:39 PM CST
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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued an executive order axing mask-wearing. The governor may have signed an executive order to lift the mask mandate but he is still encouraging people to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Some people in Desoto County wonder if it means they may now be more exposed.

Jada Reed believes wearing a mask is important and she wants people around her to do the same.

“I just think everybody should wear a mask cause don’t nobody want to get sick,” said Reed.

Related | EXPLAINER: Why did Gov. Reeves terminate his COVID executive orders?

Reeves issued an executive order Tuesday lifting mask-wearing restrictions across the state pointing out a decrease in daily coronavirus infections and hospitalizations. He said case numbers have fallen low enough that no county now meets the criteria for a mask mandate.

But Flo White isn’t ready to give up her mask just yet.

“After the vaccine, I think everything will be OK but until then, I think we will continue to protect ourselves,” said White.

Reeves announcement comes as the state reported 301 new COVID-cases and 44 COVID-19 related deaths. The Mississippi State Health Director, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, wrote in a tweet:

The governor said his executive order does not prevent businesses or other groups from requiring masks if they choose to.

“If businesses or individuals decide to take additional precautions, they are absolutely within their rights. In fact, it may be smart. But we are not going to continue to use the heavy hand of government when it is no longer justified by the reality we see around us,” said Reeves.

Related | Masks ‘recommended’ but not mandated in Miss.; Businesses now unrestricted

Heather Brister agrees with the governor.

“Very happy. I feel like it’s your choice. It should be our choice. It’s our health. I don’t feel you should have to,” she said.

The lifting of the mask mandate order here in Mississippi doesn’t go into effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday and it will remain in effect until at least March 31.

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