Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Tuesday announced the addition of a two-week mask mandate, requiring face coverings in both indoor and outdoor settings when social distancing is not feasible.
“Up to this point, we’ve kept the focus on counties with the highest spread. Now, with a two week push, I believe we can have the maximum effect and allow for education to occur,” Reeves said on Tuesday.
“This has always been about getting the most possible cooperation from the people of Mississippi and I believe that there is enough motivation to safely get our kids in school that we can really juice participation throughout our state for this period,” he continued.
The governor also signed an executive order delaying the reopening of schools — for upper grades specifically — in the “hardest hit” counties. Those include Bolivar, Coahoma, Forest, George, Panola, Sunflower, and Washington. Ultimately, students, teachers, and staff members across the state will be required to wear masks, per the governor’s order.
The governor expressed hope that a concerted effort, through the two week mask mandate, will put the state on a path toward normalcy.
“I know that I want to see college football in the fall. The best way for that to occur is for us all to recognize that wearing a mask, as irritating as it can be – and I promise you, I hate it more than anybody watching today — it is critical,” he explained.
“If you wear a mask, if you socially distance, if we do the little things, it will make a difference, and therefore I am implementing a statewide mask mandate today,” he added.
Mississippi had reported 62,199 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,753 related deaths as of Wednesday morning.