Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Tuesday ordered a statewide mask mandate, requiring all residents to don a face covering while shopping or attending a public gathering during the next two weeks.
Mississippi is seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases and deaths, with more than 1 in 5 COVID-19 tests conducted in the state coming back positive, the Clarion Ledger reports. Previously, Reeves issued three separate executive orders requiring mask mandates in 37 of the state's 82 counties, but balked at issuing a statewide order because he said it was too hard to enforce and he trusted Mississippians to wear face coverings on their own.
On Tuesday, Reeves said he ordered the statewide mandate "because I believe that a large number of Mississippians are actually participating in slowing down the spread of the virus. They are doing exactly what they've asked them to do, and I'm proud of that."
Earlier in the day, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi's top health officer, announced a statewide order that anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 and is not hospitalized must stay in self-isolation for 14 days from the onset of their illness. Failure to comply with this order could result in a misdemeanor fine of $500 and/or up to six months in jail.
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