As COVID-19 cases fall, Mississippi is the first state in the union to lift a mask mandate.
The state’s mask mandate has been in place since August 4th, and on Wednesday, Gov. Tate Reeves said the diminishing number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations “are positive developments that call for the lifting of some restrictions,” reported Fox News.
According to the New York Post, schools and “close contact” businesses still require people to wear masks.
The new executive order that ends the statewide mask mandate is effective Wednesday at 5 p.m. and expires on November 11th.
“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 absolutely justified it,” Reeves said. “But because of the work and the effort of the people of Mississippi, we’re in a different spot now.”
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Reeves clarified that he still believes that masks work. “I think the facts and the data across this country bear that out,” he said.
There will still be restrictions on the number of people in restaurants, bars, and other businesses. People will still be asked to wear masks while attending college football games and the annual Mississippi State Fair.
According to the governor, if COVID-19 cases start rising again, he would consider putting a mask mandate back in place. Fox News reported that “cities and towns are welcome to put in place their own mask mandates.”
“There is a difference between being wise and being a government mandate,” Reeves said. “We have to trust the people of this country to look after themselves and to make wise decisions.”