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OUR VIEW: Is lifting executive orders a premature decision?

Editor’s note: The editorial below has been altered following recent events and differs from the version printed in the Wednesday, March 3, 2021 newspaper.

Governor Tate Reeves announced Tuesday afternoon that he had signed a new executive order lifting most of the requirements for COVID-19 precautions, making them instead “recommendations.” 

Citing case numbers and hospitalizations that “plummeted,” all signs point to a positive step out of the battle against COVID-19. No county in Mississippi meets the original criteria for Reeves’ original mask mandate. We should be shouting for joy! 

However, it seems once again that Reeves did not mention a key part of the puzzle: you can’t get COVID if you’re snowed in for a week and a half.  

With Winter Storms Uri and Viola pummeling almost the entire state, inches of ice and snow kept people indoors and away from others. It could even be ventured so far as to say that the cold temperatures acted as a motivator for those who did venture out to wear masks, if for no other reason than to keep their faces warm.  

So, statewide coronavirus case numbers the last few days have been minimal compared to past months, with daily case numbers hardly rising out of the 300s. All charts are trending down, and things are looking up. We hope this isn’t solely due to the snow storm, and that this trend will continue.  

The Oxford Board of Aldermen, in a surprising turn of events, voted to follow suit with the state and follow Reeves’ executive order.

Businesses will still most likely require masks upon entry, as is their right, but opening up to 100-percent capacity will present its own logistical problems, especially on the Square.

However, as more people in other parts of the state decide it’s safe enough to go without a mask in public, it’s worth noting that we will probably see a spike in case numbers. It might not be a big spike, but it could happen. 

Reeves was right when he said the following: “Everyone should continue to listen to Dr. Dobbs and other health advisors for the best possible wisdom regarding how you can personally stem any risk of catching COVID.” 

We, as Mississippians, are waiting with baited breath.