JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba is taking action after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Mississippi.
Monday, Lumumba said a new executive order will be put into place that will crack down on people not wearing face masks in public places.
“It has been our goal not to criminalize this matter and our police department will be doing this in the most humane and effective way,” the mayor said Monday. Lumumba said the city will also take action against businesses that are not requiring people to wear masks inside their establishments.
Tuesday, the mayor held a press conference elaborating on the executive order and why it has been put into place.
“In recent days we have seen a sudden surge in the confirmed cases of coronavirus which has lead to this executive order which aims to protect our residents based on the best measures we have available to us,” Lumumba said.
As of Tuesday, June 30, there have been 2,111 positive cases of coronavirus in Hinds County and 39 deaths.
He said that city officials are concerned and serious about the protection of their citizens.
Lumumba said that many have not taken the virus seriously, and that the executive order is not to “over-govern” but as a measure of protection.
City Attorney Tim Howard took the podium also, explaining details of the executive order.
“The focal point of this executive order, and the intent of it, is not to be punitive but it is to save lives. Particularly of those who live the great city of Jackson,” Howard said.
He said the city now requires individuals to wear masks in public places, both indoors and outdoors. Commercial entities and businesses are also required to make anyone coming inside wear a mask as well.
If they do not enforce this, Howard said that they may face a 24-hour closure.
“We know that face coverings save lives,” Howard said. Because of this, he feels it necessary to attach consequences to businesses who do not comply.
Dr. Timothy Quinn, a family physician working in the Jackson area, also spoke at the conference, saying that the pandemic is not getting better, but worse. He says that masks add an extra level of protection against the virus.
“We just want everybody to know that the decision that are made might not be the most popular, they might not be the most happy, but, at the same time, they are the decision that are the most wise,” Dr. Quinn said.