Mississippi governor: Masks recommended but not mandated
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says that as of Wednesday, he is getting rid of most mask mandates that he had imposed to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. He is also lifting most other restrictions, including limits on seating in restaurants.
“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” Republican Reeves said during a news conference Tuesday.
Until now, most of Mississippi’s 82 counties had been under a mask mandate for months. Reeves said the number of people hospitalized because of the virus has decreased in recent weeks, and vaccination numbers are increasing.
Reeves said he is issuing a new executive order that takes effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday and remains in place until March 31.
He said rules for K-12 schools are not changing. Schools will still require masks where social distancing is not possible. There are also still limits on seating at K-12 school events: 25% capacity for indoor events and 50% capacity for outdoor events.
The new capacity for seating at indoor arenas for colleges is 50%. Club areas in arenas are limited to 75% of their seating capacity.
Reeves said he is encouraging other people to wear face coverings but is not requiring it. He is asking people to follow recommendations from the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
Dobbs said in response to questions Tuesday that it’s still a good idea for people to avoid large, unmasked gatherings.
“There’s no way in heck I would go sit in a crowded bar right now,” Dobbs said.
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