Gov. Reeves says wearing a mask ’beats the hell out of shutting down the state’

Gov. Reeves discusses latest pandemic response in state - clipped version

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced he’s extending his executive order for two more weeks.

Reeves announced the expansion of spectators at school sports to 25% and a statewide mask mandate for an additional two weeks.

“We can always do better, but I am encouraged by the efforts by the people in this state,” Reeves said.

He said the state is about where it was case-wise in early July, before a major spike in mid- to late-July. He says the weekly case total has since been cut in half. Monday, less than 300 new cases were reported.

“The next 10 days are crucial,” he said, pointing to the upcoming Labor Day holiday and continued need for social distancing.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said he’s seen encouraging results from schools so far and many have been reporting their results.

For the week of August 24-28, there were 123 cases among teachers and staff and 251 among students. This lead to about 3,500 students to be quarantined.

“I’m real pleased with the work and the collaboration we’ve had, with K-12 schools and with colleges and universities,” Byers said.

During the press conference, Gov. Reeves was asked if it was hypocritical of him to ask Mississippians to wear a mask when he has been seen in photographs not wearing masks at political events.

Reeves responded, saying that everyone has not always worn a mask 100 percent of the time but that while attending these events he wore his a mask a majority of the time. He also reiterated that masks, along with socially distancing, are causing the amount of coronavirus cases in Mississippi to go down, which, in turn, causes less people to go to the hospital.

“What I’m trying to submit to the people of this great state that there is a path that we can take,” he said. “It’s not a perfect path but it’s also a path that I believe that beats the hell out of shutting down the state, beats the hell out of shutting down gyms, shutting down bars, shutting down small businesses, shutting down our economy.”

He said wearing a mask and staying socially distant “is a nuisance” but it is a much better alternative than finding ourselves “where we were in late March.”

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