Governor explains Labor Day is reason for extending Safe Return Order

Gov. extends mask mandate for 2 weeks

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Governor Tate Reeves says Labor Day is a key reason he’s extending his Safe Return order.

Two more weeks of required masks and no big gatherings. Why? Governor Reeves says it’s working.

“The next 10 days are critical,” said Reeves. “If you look at our seven day rolling average and total number of cases, we are about where we were just before July 4.”

He is making one change, though. High schools will now have more flexibility in crowd size. The order previously limited it to two spectators per athlete. Schools will now be allowed to fill 25% capacity.

“It was something that was asked for my a lot of people mainly just because it’s hard with that two-per to make it work and so that’s still a good rule by the way,” added Reeves. “It’s a good way in which to do it and I think you’ll see a lot of schools continue that, particularly for indoor venues.”

State epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers is urging folks to avoid any temptation to have big get togethers for upcoming holiday weekend.

“One of the things that we see repeatedly is that when you introduce new people that you haven’t been interacting with before, that’s when you increase your chances of becoming infected,” noted Byers.

The other encouraging news is that the rate of spread is slowing. Governor Reeves says the R0 value is down to 0.9. Here’s what that means.

“Every person gives the virus at this point to about 0.9 people on that number is over one, that means that the virus is increasing in numbers.”

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