MISSISSIPPI – While Louisiana is moving to Phase 3 with a mask mandate, Texas and Mississippi are eliminating mask mandates.
The states are also allowing businesses to completely open up.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said, “I never took any pleasure in signing executive orders.”
Reeves attributes his decision to Mississippi’s hospitalizations and positivity rate declining.
“The Governor’s Office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” Reeves said.
Not every business will drop COVID guidelines.
Parker’s Jewelry and Gifts in Pass Christian will keep a sign on their door with a request.
“We encourage people to wear their mask when they come in because we have an elderly community and family and friends,” said Mimi Parker Thomas, owner of Parker’s. “We want to make sure they’re safe.”
Thomas agrees with Reeves that the COVID numbers are promising. Although some question if re-opening is too early, Thomas maintains that will always be a risk.
“I think if people are getting the vaccination and more seem able to do so, that’s really going to make a difference in the numbers,” Thomas said.
Some in Mississippi believe the state needs to proceed with caution. Meanwhile, others believe opening up completely is the right move.
“I think masks are bleep…I’ll leave it at that,” said Bay St. Louis resident Mark Garcia.
He acknowledges COVID is real and impacting people. Ultimately, he thinks the Governor’s decision is a huge win.
“I think people are going to get out and shop more, visit restaurants. Most people they still spent money, but I know it’s hurt some businesses,” Garcia said.
WGNO asked Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ office his take on Texas and Mississippi opening up and a spokesperson said, “The Governor is not going to comment on decisions made by other states.”
His spokesperson went on to say, “As for Louisiana, he holds to what he said today that while cases, hospitalizations and even deaths are down they are still at a high level. Everyone needs to remain vigilant, adhere to the statewide mask mandate and follow all of the mitigation measures which is even more important now because we know the more contagious U.K. variant is here.”