JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The moves from Governor Tate Reeves to no longer require mask mandates from the state level have caught the attention of the White House. President Joe Biden had strong words for Governor Reeves and Texas on their latest actions.
How it works is no county or city is being ordered by Governor Tate Reeves office to require masks when out in public. Also, any business can open with no capacity limits. President Joe Biden isn’t pleased.
“I think it’s a big mistake,” President Biden told reporters during a press briefing.
This sparked a war of words unfolding as the White House takes notice with Mississippi and Texas being one of the first to re-open all businesses to full capacity with no masks required.
“The last thing we need is neanderthal thinking that everything is fine,” President Biden argued. “Take off your mask and forget it, because it still matters, as of yesterday we have lost 511,874 Americans.”
6,743 of those deaths have come from Mississippi, which puts the state top ten in the nation for deaths per-capita. Governor Tate Reeves still defended his actions believing the President is overlooking parts of the data.
“Given how long-ago Mr. Biden was elected to the U.S Congress he should certainly know how the Neanderthals think,” Gov. Reeves fired back. “I trust the people of Mississippi to make the right decisions.”
The latest charts from the Mississippi Department of Health do show patients hospitalized and in the Intensive Care Unit on a constant decline dropping to less than 400 hospitalizations with 120 covid patients in the ICU. Guaranteeing new ones have hospital beds.
“If you are over the age of 65 and have not been vaccinated, then go into a large crowd I think you should wear a mask,” Gov. Reeves recommended. “But I don’t think the numbers justify me as governor making you do so. Because I think every Mississippian can make their own decision.”
“It’s crucial that they follow the science,” President Biden responded. “Wash your hands, hot water, and do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. I wish some of our elected officials knew that.”
Health experts in Mississippi have echoed these pleads for all to still be on guard and use the same caution when out. But in some cities like Byram where the mandates no longer exist, people are ready to move on.
“I love it, I’m tired of these masks,” Terry Wood told us.
“I’m very glad the mask mandate is over with because I don’t think we need that,” Kristy Wright stated.
“We’re not going to turn anybody away,” Daddio’s General Manager added. “We encourage anybody to do what makes them feel comfortable and we want to make the community feel comfortable.”
Governor Tate Reeves added he spoke to the Biden administration’s Coronavirus Task Force leader. But claimed the state healthcare system is no longer at risk leading to the loosening of restrictions.
In Mississippi, the governor’s order is in effect until March 31.
Mississippians are encouraged, though not ordered, to wear a face covering and practice social distancing. K-12 schools will still require a mask where social distancing is not possible. Seating for K-12 extracurricular activities at outdoor venues is now set at 50% capacity and 25% maximum seating capacity inside. Seating capacity for indoor bowl and arena seating is now increased to 50%.
Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) guidance still necessitates the use of masks and other measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission in healthcare settings.
On Wednesday, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus urged Mississippians to continue wearing face masks, wash their hands and continue to social distance.