Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is reconsidering his plans to reopen Mississippi after the state saw the largest spike in coronavirus cases and deaths on Friday.
State health officials on Friday announced that there were 397 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi and 20 deaths. Reeves was going to begin slowly rolling out a plan to get residents back to work on Friday, though he decided against announcing those plans because of the increase in cases.
“Things can change quickly. We have to stay flexible. Today, I was prepared to announce further reopenings,” Reeves said at a press conference Friday. “That was the plan and I was excited to get more of our people back to work.”
“This is a large enough change to make me take a step back and want to look at the board, to reexamine things and I’ve come to the conclusion that I must hold on, for now, and reconsider it at least over the weekend.” The governor continued, “Not to recklessly put people in harms way.”
Reeves originally signed a “Safer At Home” order which laid out a strategy to allow people to go back to work. The order would have allowed retail businesses to open temporarily for two weeks, as long as they impose social distancing rules, only allow 50% capacity into stores and provide hand sanitizer.
As of Friday, there were 7,441 total cases of the virus and 291 deaths in Mississippi. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said at the press conference that that was “the largest number of cases we’ve reported in a single day.”
Reeves was one of several governors who is working to reopen state economies and allow people back into the public, despite health officials fears that relaxing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 would cause another surge in cases.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey enacted her own “safer-at-home” orders, allowing some businesses to open their doors, with sanitation and social distancing guidelines, on the evening of April 30.
In Montana, restaurants and bars can start opening its doors for dining in on Monday. Texas’ stay-at-home orders expired last week.