Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves reversed course on his plan to reopen parts of the state’s economy after the number of coronavirus cases and deaths increased over the weekend.
On Friday, Mississippi reported 397 new cases and 20 additional deaths, the highest totals the state has seen since the pandemic began.
Mississippi, the poorest state in the nation, has 7,441 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. At least 291 state residents have died from the virus, according to the state’s data.
State pushed to reopen:
The news came as Mississippi planned to ease social distancing restrictions.
Reeves planned to issue a “safer at home” order allowing some retail stores like clothing shops and bookstores to reopen under social distancing guidelines.
The state planned to impose capacity limits and require businesses to keep customers at least six feet apart.
Reeves changes mind:
"Things can change quickly. We have to stay flexible. Today, I was prepared to announce further reopenings. That was the plan and I was excited to get more of our people back to work," Reeves said on Friday. "This was a large enough change to make me take a step back. I have come to the conclusion that I must hold on for now."
"The increase was a large enough change to make me take a step back, reexamine things and must hold on and reconsider at least over the weekend," he added, stressing that he did not want to “recklessly put people in harm's way."