Governor Tate Reeves held a briefing Tuesday where he announced that the state’s last lingering mandates in certain counties would be lifted Wednesday. Mayor Flaggs said he would not lift the mandates before monitoring the case statistics for another week.
“Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules,” Reeves posted on Facebook. “Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”
The exception to this, though, are the mandates for students K-12, which will remain in place, and a limit of 50% capacity on indoor arenas. Masks and social distancing will still be required in all Mississippi public schools.
Reeves said the decision was made to keep the restrictions in place in our schools to ensure that schools are able to remain open for in-school instruction.
“Please continue to use your best judgement. Please continue to look after your loved ones. There is no replacement, within the government, for good common sense,” Reeves said. “Simply because there is no longer an order in place, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to continue to take necessary precautions.”
Reeves is confident that with the growing number of vaccinated Mississippians, the likelihood of hospitals becoming overrun and unable to meet the needs of the communities they serve is low enough that restrictions on businesses can be relaxed and life can, to a large extent, return to normal.
Dr. Thomas Dobbs urged everyone to continue to wear masks and avoid mass gatherings until they have been vaccinated.
While state-level restrictions are being lifted, counties and municipalities still have the authority to enact mandates necessary for their specific areas. The City of Vicksburg and Warren County continue to have restrictions in place requiring masks, social distancing, and reduced capacity in businesses and gathering venues.
The Mayor’s Office issued a statement in the wake of the Governor’s briefing saying, “Mayor Flaggs plans to watch Vicksburg’s COVID-19 case numbers for another week before making a decision to lift any of the COVID-19 restrictions that are currently in place.”
The recent winter storm has likely influenced case numbers, as people were less likely to be able to get tested or even receive treatment if they were ill.