Mixed reactions along Gulf Coast as Miss. governor lifts mask mandate

Mixed reactions along Gulf Coast as Miss. governor lifts mask mandate
Gov. Tate Reeves adjusts his face mask as he prepares to leave his COVID-19 press briefing, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Jackson, Miss. The governor, who has admitted to disliking the wearing of a face mask, nevertheless wears one in public, and Tuesday issued a statewide order for people to wear masks in public amid a recent surge in cases of the new coronavirus. He and other state officials provided an update on the coronavirus and the state's ongoing strategy to limit transmission. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Source: Rogelio V. Solis)

Bay St. Louis, Miss. (WVUE) - A beautiful day along the gulf coast brought people from states away and hearing the Governor lifted the mask mandate, many were celebrating.

Heidi Talbot drove from Baton Rouge to enjoy the beachfront to celebrate the end of her 14-day quarantine.

“It feels amazing to be out in the open again. And yeah, the only thing was the body aches were god awful but that was it,” Talbot said. She says now that she’s well again, she hopes that Louisiana follows Mississippi’s lead.

“I think we all need to go back to normal you know, I do not believe that the mandates are going to be what we need, I think that we all need to go back to normal,” Talbot said.

“This is a testament to what you, the people of Mississippi have committed to and what you’ve been willing to do,” said Governor Tate Reeves.

The governor pointing to the numbers as a reason to lift the mask mandate, but says they’ll still be required at schools and close contact businesses like salons and barbershops, hoping that people will still wear masks despite lifting the mandate.

Dan B’s bar along the beachfront says that people have been wearing masks for the most part, and will continue operating business as normal with their open-air setup.

Bartender Scott Pittman hopes without the mandate it will encourage even more people to rejoin public spaces.

“I think it’s the right thing to do the smart thing to do. People are ready to get out and have fun. We’ve been really busy it just kind of loosens people up a little more,” Pittman said.

“I think it’s a little scary, I don’t know if we’re ready for it,” said Chris Schoennagel.

New Orleans couple Carol and Chris Schoennagel say they were surprised to see so many mask-less faces shortly after the governor’s announcement.

“We are eating in a restaurant and it looks like around 5 o’clock they started taking their masks off and we were wondering,” Chris said.

The couple saying they’ll continue to wear theirs, if not for themselves for others.

“It’s so in case I am sick and don’t know it, I don’t get someone else sick, basically why I feel safe,” Carol said.

The new executive order relaxes other restrictions as well: football and other K-12 extracurricular events can expand to 50 percent capacity.

It will also limit group gatherings to 20 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

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