Gov. Tate Reeves has decided to lift Newton County from the list of counties required to wear masks in public places.
According to a press release Friday Attala, Leake, Scott and Newton counties “are now at lower rates of transmission and can relax these social distancing measures.”
Now, face masks and coverings are still recommended by CDC and Mississippi State Department of Health guidelines, but they are not mandatory. The eased restrictions increase the number of people allowed in public gatherings using social distancing to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
The City of Newton's placed a curfew and made other restrictions on the city in April when the county's COVID-19 cases began to spike. That order was allowed to expire on Memorial Day.
The Town of Hickory's curfew is still in place until the Board of Aldermen meet on Tuesday, June 2.
“This deadly disease is real, this deadly disease is contagious, and this deadly disease is in every community across our state,” Reeves said during a press conference Friday. “We must stay vigilant. More freedom does not mean less risk. Just the opposite. It means means that we are trusting you, the people of Mississippi, to do what is right. It means we respect you enough to make your own decisions, but I’m asking you as a fellow Mississippian to be wise.”
According to Executive Order 1493, Newton County along with Attala, Leake and Scott counties have been removed from Executive Order 1483, which placed these and Jasper, Neshoba and Lauderdale counties under extra restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The previous order required residents to wear masks or face coverings in retail establishments. It also limited public gatherings to 10 people inside and 20 people outdoors.
The order remains in place for Jasper, Neshoba and Lauderdale counties, and Wayne County was added to the order Friday.