Gov. Reeves: County-specific orders “imminent” as COVID-19 cases rise

Tuesday, the state’s top health officials explained that stress on Mississippi’s healthcare system has led to a restriction on certain elective procedures in several counties. Today, Governor Tate Reeves announced that forthcoming executive orders will be put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 as cases in Mississippi rise. 

During today’s press briefing, the governor stated that “county-specific” orders are likely imminent. He indicated that these orders will include additional social distancing measures and possible mask mandates. Several large cities, including the capital city, have implemented mask mandates at the local level. 

These orders would supplement the state’s ‘Safe Return’ order, which places guidelines and restrictions on all businesses and social gatherings in Mississippi. County-specific orders have previously been issued following the identification of hotspot areas across the state. 

While stating that “there is a lot more that’s on the table,” Governor Reeves urged everyone to heed the current orders.

“Nothing is going to work unless people will just follow the rules that are in place,” he said. 

Mississippi hospitals have been ordered to reserve 25% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients. The governor stated that many are not following this rule, and he issued a warning to other industries. 

“Just like additional orders were placed on our hospitals, I can see future orders on bars & restaurants, which right now, many of them seem to be ignoring the rules. Make no mistake, I do not want to do any of this. I want us to completely open. I want us to be completely back to 2019 normal, but we can’t. We’re trending worse, not better.”

The 2020-21 school year is about a month away, and while he acknowledged that it may look a bit different, the governor issued a confident response when asked about his commitment to ensuring schools open this fall.

“I am 100% committed to schools reopening in a safe and responsible way,” he said. 

Individual school districts will ultimately decide if they will return to a traditional schedule or operate completely online or with a hybrid schedule. 

Watch the full press conference below: