• 91°

City mask mandate extended

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen extended the city’s mask mandate until Aug. 11 during their Tuesday meeting.

A board order established by both the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen and Adams County Board of Supervisors on July 3 mandates that facial coverings be worn in and outside of businesses and public spaces where social distancing of 6 feet or more is difficult to maintain.

“The order expires July 31 and the EOC (Natchez-Adams County Emergency Operations Center) has suggested that the Board of Aldermen consider extending that mask mandate until Aug. 17,” Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting. “It is the decision of the board whether we extend it to Aug. 17, whether we extend it to some other date, whether we do away with it altogether or whether we adopt the governor’s guidelines as our own — including his guidelines for wearing masks.”

Executive Orders passed by Gov. Tate Reeves pose more strict regulations — such as mandatory facial coverings — on Mississippi counties with the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases, excluding Adams County.

Gibson said he had heard from Natchez residents on both sides — some urging city officials to support the mandate because of health and safety concerns and others urging them to let it expire because they felt it violated their personal rights by not allowing them to keep health conditions preventing them from wearing masks private.

“I think at the end of the day it boils down to personal responsibility,” Gibson said. “… We as Americans have our sacred freedoms but we also have a long-standing tradition in this country where one person’s freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins. We don’t have the freedom to endanger one another. … It is a small ask to encourage people to wear masks so that we can keep our businesses going and so we can keep our numbers going in the right direction and to avoid a spike that would put a serious strain on our already full hospital and our healthcare providers. … There have been situations just recently all across the state where hospitals are having to shuttle patients from here to there and go through creative extremes just to care for COVID patients.

“We don’t … want a situation where we throw the doors wide open today thinking we are doing the right thing and then next month — and not of our own volition but by order of the governor — have to shut our economy down. That has already occurred in some counties of our state. We don’t want that to occur in Adams County.”

Ward 1 Alderwoman Valencia Hall offered a motion to adopt the governor’s guidelines for wearing masks. An amendment to Hall’s motion was offered by Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Carter-Smith that would also extend the local mask mandate until the next regular board meeting on Aug. 11, which would give officials time to review COVID-19 numbers and decide again whether to continue the mask mandate, she said. The motion passed unanimously.

News

Trooper slaying suspect’s mother: ‘If he did it, he needs to be in jail’

BREAKING NEWS

Human remains found in north Adams County in July identified

COVID-19

Mississippi has fourth highest COVID-19 infection rate in nation

COVID-19

Sunday update: Six new COVID-19 cases reported in Adams County

News

The Dart: Softball player perfects her pitching

BREAKING NEWS

Three suspects identified, arrested in Friday shooting of off-duty state trooper

COVID-19

Free virus testing continues as new cases are reported in Concordia Parish

COVID-19

State health department reports new COVID-19 cases, deaths on Saturday

News

$108,000 reward offered for information in fatal shooting of off-duty state trooper

News

Jury trials to return to area, will be conducted at Natchez City Auditorium

News

Diversity in tourism discussed by local stakeholders

News

Vidalia mayor breaks tie to allow billboard to stay on Carter Street

COVID-19

Friday update: State reports new COVID-19 cases, deaths

COVID-19

Drive-thru face mask distribution Saturday at Adams County Safe Room

News

Local doctors discuss use of hydroxychloroquine, other therapies for COVID-19

News

Officials: Now is time to register to vote

News

Faith column: We cannot save ourselves

News

Your Take: A gift for a coach

COVID-19

Fayette man dies with COVID-19

News

More than half choose virtual learning for Concordia Parish schools

COVID-19

Concordia Parish resident dies with COVID-19

COVID-19

Wednesday update: Mississippi COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to climb

News

New York forces local student to spend 14 days in quarantine with mom before entering college

News

Officials: Local hospital workers faced most challenging week