‘We are the laughingstock of the country,’ Mississippi mayor laments after governor’s deadly order

Laura ClawsonDaily Kos StaffFriday March 27, 2020 · 11:11 AM EDT Recommend 346  Share  Tweet566 Comments 566 New

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves announces his candidacy for governor during a news conference at the state GOP headquarters in Jackson, Miss. While in college in the 1990s, Reeves took part in his fraternity's Old South parties. And at such Kappa Alpha parties, members often wore Confederate costumes, a common practice among chapters in the South. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Tate Reeves



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Some Mississippi mayors had put controls in place to help fight the spread of coronavirus—until Gov. Tate Reeves issued an order overruling mayors and reopening many businesses. Reeves has made his choice about what’s important, at least in the short term.

“There’s no question that the purpose of the order was to keep businesses open, which is good for the economy,” Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton told the Mississippi Free Press. “It’s definitely putting protections in place for the state’s economy. The flipside is that it’s doing that at the expense of human lives.”Sign This PetitionSign the petition: Denounce Mississippi’s Governor Tate Reeves’ absurd COVID-19 responseNot in the US?

Moss Point Mayor Mario King had closed restaurants for dining in, salons and barbershops, houses of worship, and more. Reeves’ order “completely makes our order null and void” and reopens much of what was closed. “So barbershops and salons are open today. People are actually at church making up Bible studies lost on Wednesday, so they’re having Thursday Bible studies. There are restaurants that re-opened their dine-in services today,” King told the Mississippi Free Press. “I understand they’re just trying to make a dollar, but if one person sneezes who has COVID-19 and someone else comes in, they’re possibly exposed to that. So his order puts our people at risk.”

King described Reeves’ action as “complete foolishness and foolery” that makes him “embarrassed not just as a mayor, but as a citizen of Mississippi. We are the laughingstock of the country because our governor has enacted an order that does not only protect the safety and welfare of the people, but puts Mississippians in harm’s way.”

On Thursday Mississippi had 485 cases of COVID-19, 108 of which were new. In other words, its numbers were growing fast, and the governor just put them on the fast track.