The obligation to wear masks was imposed on Aug. 4 as an emergency measure to prevent the spread of the CCP Virus. But its governor, Republican Tate Reeves made Mississippi the first state to officially lift the measure.

Tate Reeves opted to renew the measure several times since it took effect on Aug. 4 as the trend of positive cases of the CCP Virus increased. But as the governor reported at a press conference on Wednesday, the decline in the number of confirmed cases and the reduction in hospitalizations encourage the lifting of some restrictions such as the use of masks. 

“We’ve cut our average number of new cases in half. We’ve cut our hospitalizations by two-thirds of what they once were,” Reeves said. “We know that it was a very turbulent summer, but we have come out on the other side.”

The executive order lifting the measure takes effect Wednesday and expires on Nov. 11, after the presidential election, when the situation will be reassessed.

For the time being, group meetings will continue to be limited to 20 people indoors and 100 outdoors, where social distancing is not possible. Excluded from this last measure are electoral districts, religious entities, and schools.

The governor also said there will be restrictions on the number of people allowed in restaurants, bars, and other businesses. The football games that began a few weeks ago in Mississippi will continue, but people will still be asked to wear masks. 

During the conference, Reeves said, “We should not use the government’s heavy hand any more than is warranted. We have to adapt our actions to the current threat and make sure they don’t go beyond what is reasonable, US News reported.

According to Health Department data reported by US News, Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported nearly 98,000 cases and at least 2,969 deaths due to the CCP Virus.

Reeves also warned that if cases of the CCP Virus start to rise again, he could re-establish the use of masks. In his statements he expressed to the mayors of the cities and towns of the state that they are free to implement their own measures regarding the use of masks. 

“There is a difference between being wise and being a government mandate,” Reeves said. “We have to trust that the people of this country will take care of themselves and make good decisions.