Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defended his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate during an interview on CNN Sunday.
Earlier this month, Reeves signed an order requiring face masks in 13 counties, but has not issued a statewide mask mandate even as governors in red states such as Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have done so.
After arguing that his daily press conferences urging residents to wear masks has spurred increased mask wearing compliance, Reeves was pressed on why he has not imposed a statewide mandatory mask order if it saves lives.
“Well look and that’s the point, Jake, in fact there’s a statewide mask mandate in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, they’re all around me. If I believe that was the best way to save lives in my state I would’ve done it a long time ago,” Reeves said.
Reeves added that he believes that wearing masks and practicing social distancing is “a strategy that is worth implementing” before blaming health experts, such as the World Health Organization, for issuing “mixed messages” on masks.
After CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out that the discrepancy among health experts on masks was from a “long time ago,” Reeves explained why he finds the issue of ordering a statewide mask mandate involves a “complicated process.”
“Of course it was a while ago, but people were paying attention then,” Reeves said. “There are lot of people in my state who said, ‘well these central planners, these people who want to tell us what to do, they said six months ago that this is what we should do and now they’ve completely changed their mind.’ And so it’s a complicated process.”
Watch Reeves’ remarks below:
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves defends lack of statewide mask mandate pic.twitter.com/LOEhU14VWj
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 19, 2020