Mask mandate, additional restrictions take effect in nine hotspot counties

Early this morning, the newest executive order issued by Governor Tate Reeves took effect.

Announced on Monday, the order implements a mask mandate in nine hotspot counties while also placing limitations on social gatherings in an effort to slow the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Chickasaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Forrest, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lee, and Neshoba

In these counties, indoor social gatherings will be limited to 10 people or less and outdoor social gatherings will be limited to 50. Masks are required while indoors and when social distancing is not possible. 

Statewide, hospitals must delay elective procedures if they are unable to maintain 10% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients. 

“We’ve seen this before. We know what can happen if we allow this to get out of control, and so we want to be proactive to prevent that from happening,” Governor Reeves said announcing the order. “None of these elements are silver bullets. None of them will totally eliminate the virus. We have to allow for life to go on in the meantime. As we wait for a vaccine, our mission is the same as it ever was: to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. That has to be the focus.”

The criteria for the selected nine counties is as follows — more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents over a designated two-week period or more than 200 cases total over the designated two-week period (with more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents).

Governor Reeves said Monday that they are monitoring several other counties that may be added to the order.