JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There is strong opposition from Black lawmakers to the governor’s decision to lift COVID-19 restrictions.
The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus fears the action should come later, as hundreds of thousands of residents await the vaccine.
“It’s a risk to take and why take unnecessary risks,” said State Senator Angela Turner-Ford (D).
The Northeast Mississippi lawmaker was diagnosed with the Coronavirus in December. Wednesday the Black Legislative Caucus chair was joined by members of the body during a news conference pushing back on Governor Tate Reeves’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s just about being safe and as I was going through it, I had no idea what was going to happen,” said Turner-Ford. “You don’t know if you’re going to be one of the cases where you have to be hospitalized. You don’t know if you’re going to be one of the cases where you’re going to need ICU treatment”.
Lawmakers said the governor’s move was too soon, although cases have decreased. They feel it is too early to remove the mask requirement and other restrictions when vaccinations have not been completed and another strain of the virus has been detected.
“Certainly lifting of the mask mandate was premature and reckless on the governor’s part,” said Senate Minority Leader Senator Derrick T. Simmons (D). “We are now getting to a stage where our health care is basically getting under control, and it’s a strain on our health care workers and our hospitals”.
Members of the caucus left the news conference with plans to meet with Governor Reeves, while continuing regular discussions with the State Health Officer. They say they want to speak with the governor about the gravity of the situation and his decision.