DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. – – North Mississippians had mixed reactions Tuesday after Governor Tate Reeves announced he’s going to lift all county mask mandates. The move is part of an executive order that takes effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The governor made his announcement Tuesday afternoon citing an infection curve he claims is starting to flatten partly thanks to more than 700,000 vaccinations across the state.
“One year ago today I signed my first executive order aimed at limiting the damage of COVID-19,” Gov. Reeves said, “Earlier today I signed what I expect to be one of my last.”
There is one key exception. Students in K-12 schools still have to wear face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible.
“In my view, this is the way forward,” Reeves said.
Desoto County residents WREG talked with say this is encouraging news but they’ll keep wearing their masks for now.
“Safe is the best way to be if you ask me,” Jessie Smith said.
“I’m 74. So, I’ll probably wear it until I have my second shot,” Sherry Land said.
Governor Reeves is also allowing businesses to operate at full capacity but some shops and restaurants will likely still require customers and employees to wear masks.
“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” Reeves said.
Dr. Manoj Jain is an infectious disease expert. He feels Reeves’ decision to lift mask mandates is premature.
“I think it’s a terrible idea!” Dr. Jain said, “We still have a significant population that needs to be vaccinated.”
We asked several casinos in Tunica if they’ll still require masks but as of this writing we have not heard back.
Arkansas’ mask mandate remains in effect for now. In Tennessee, it’s up to each county. Shelby County residents, for example, are still required to wear masks.