Masks to be required, gatherings limited in DeSoto, Quitman counties

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Starting Monday, face masks will be mandatory for public gatherings and shopping in 13 Mississippi counties as Governor Tate Reeves prepares to sign an executive order.

The new restrictions were announced at a Thursday afternoon press conference and will only apply to two Mid-South counties: DeSoto and Quitman.

The owner of Epitome Boutique in Southaven said she isn’t bothered by the new rules since she already requires masks at her business.

“We practice social distancing, everyone wears their mask,” owner Shondra English said.

Reeves said the state chose counties with 200 new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days or that had an average of 500 cases for every 100,000 people over the same time period.

Since March, DeSoto County has recorded 1,818 cases and 18 deaths. Quitman County has logged 89 cases and one death. 

“I think you should have wear it really if you’re going in public, putting other lives at risk, you know. Just as a courtesy to other people,” said DeSoto County resident Jacob Thompson.

Reeves’ order will limit social gatherings to 10 people if they’re held indoors and 20 people outdoors.

This doesn’t apply to businesses, although restaurants are still capped at 50 percent capacity under previous rules.

Reeves said he saw no reason for any of Mississippi’s school districts to delay their back-to-school dates. DeSoto County Schools has set theirs for August 6. 

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