Reeves: Rollback of some COVID-19 restrictions in Mississippi will begin over next seven days

Those fully vaccinated may not be subject to mask mandate, other requirements
Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 10:22 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Some of Mississippi’s pandemic-related restrictions will be lifted within the next week, Gov. Tate Reeves told reporters Tuesday. But he offered few specifics on what that might look like.

Reeves said those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus may not be subject to all of the state’s restrictions, particularly mask mandates.

“We have to be very careful in talking to those individuals who have been fully vaccinated a week to two weeks after the second dose in terms of continuing to require them to do things like wearing masks,” Reeves said. “We are in conversations as to what a new executive order may look like and what restrictions make sense for us to take off the books and which ones should stay on a little bit longer.”

Reeves said encouraging numbers from the Mississippi State Department of Health prompted the decision to move forward with a new executive order.

A 3 On Your Side analysis shows Mississippi’s seven-day average for reported COVID-19 cases is now at an eight-month low, with COVID-19 hospitalizations at their lowest since October 10.

“Our goal has always been throughout this pandemic, to ensure that every single Mississippian that can get better with quality care receives that quality care,” Reeves said. “It has been about protecting the integrity of our health care system.”

Reeves said the goal was not to make sure every Mississippian didn’t contract the virus because he doesn’t believe that’s a realistic goal.

“When government takes action to try to do everything we can to minimize the likelihood that the health care system is overwhelmed, that’s different than government taking action just to take action, or government taking action to try to keep one or two, or some number of Mississippians from actually getting the virus,” Reeves said.

“It is not going to be our responsibility or government’s responsibility to keep every single person from getting COVID. We can no more accomplish that than we can keep every single Mississippian from getting the flu,” he continued.

Reeves’ current executive order, which established mask mandates in 75 of the state’s 82 counties and also maintains capacity restrictions in restaurants, businesses and at sporting events, will expire March 3.

The governor said he expects to begin rolling back restrictions within the next seven days but will still encourage Mississippians to wear masks, protect their families and minimize their “individual risk,” but calls that an “individual decision.”

“The heavy hand of government is no longer required and we’re getting very, very, very close to that point,” Reeves said.

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