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Any future restrictions will be because of us and our lack of responsibility

While we disagree with the idea of a government-ordered mandate requiring masks be worn, the step that is expected to be taken Wednesday by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is an appropriate step.

Flaggs said Tuesday he will change the city’s COVID-19 civil emergency orders to require anyone entering a business or public building within the city limits to wear a facemask. The order will also require those working inside businesses to wear masks if social distancing within the business is not possible.

The full details of the civil emergency changes will be unveiled Wednesday afternoon during a press conference that will be broadcast live on The Vicksburg Post’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thevicksburgpost.com. 

So, without knowing the full details just yet, this really is a case where “the devil is in the details.”

We have argued that while we agree that wearing a mask is the responsible thing to do, it is not the government’s place to require such. Then again, we also know that our local economy — our local businesses, their employees — likely cannot survive another economic shutdown due to the virus spreading out of control.

Tuesday, the Mississippi State Medical Association called on Gov. Tate Reeves to issue a statewide mask mandate, a measure that Reeves has as of Tuesday declined to do. But, the governor has also been quick to say that nothing is off the table when it comes to trying to slow the spread of a virus that has infected 37,542 Mississippians and killed 1,272.

While Warren County has not been named a hot spot by state health officials, it is close. In the past 14 days, 187 new cases have been confirmed.

That rate of infection has no doubt put Warren County on the watch list for possible state restrictions and rightfully so.

Flaggs is expected Wednesday to change the city’s civil emergency order and extend it to at least Aug. 3.

If we as a city, as a county, do not want more restrictions and more mandates from state and local governments, then we must do what is necessary not just to prevent economic shutdowns, but to prevent any additional loss of life.