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Mask up and enjoy holidays, Natchez!

I’ve always loved Christmas. And when I first heard rumor of folks wanting to cancel our traditional Christmas events, such as the Lighting of the Christmas Tree and the Annual Christmas Parade because of the virus, I bristled.

I thought, So we’re going to tolerate every political demonstration in America, regardless of how vile or destructive, but we aren’t going to hold Christmas events for our children?

In my opinion this sends the wrong message. And there are definitely safe ways to celebrate the holidays and to be responsible citizens.

It saddens me that we have such a strong protest going on in our community — a resistance to the mask mandate. It has been in place since early summer and is likely to continue for some time, now that Gov. Tate Reeves has recently included Adams County on his list of mask-mandated counties.

We need some compassion and common sense. Many in our community are worried and afraid, and many have suffered the loss of loved ones to this virus. Our healthcare workers are stressed to the max.

If ever there was a time for kindness and thoughtful concern for others, it is now. And by and large, our community is the kindest and most thoughtful community I know.

I don’t like wearing the mask — and I don’t know a single person who does. But I do like having a community where the economy is open and the people are healthy. And a reverse to this is not an option. We must do all we can — all it takes — to remain healthy and open. Closing our economy in the early spring almost killed Natchez.

To do so again could very possibly be the death knell — an easy decision maybe for those who don’t rely on a paycheck for their livelihood. But the vast majority of us do. Missing work, missing a paycheck is not an option.

I understand that there are those who think the mask is a political ploy. I get it. But if masks are as ineffective as they claim in controlling the spread of the virus, then why is every doctor and healthcare professional I know and trust urging that we wear masks?

And if people are really so determined that masks don’t work, I dare them to do this… Next time you are being prepped for surgery demand that the doctor and nurses remove their masks…. Or next time you visit the dentist demand that the dentist remove their mask…. Or next time your wife goes in to deliver a baby demand that the doctor and every nurse in the delivery room remove their masks… I think you get my point. Again, time for some common sense.

So on one hand we have those who want to shut it all down, hold demonstrations, and cancel Christmas. And on the other hand we have those who want to spew hate at anyone wearing a mask or requesting it of others.

It’s time for reason. It’s time to seek the middle ground where most of us with common sense hang out. Let’s be considerate of one another. Let’s do the right thing. Let’s wear our masks, wash our hands, keep a safe distance, and Keep Natchez Open!

Mask up, and enjoy the holidays!

Dan Gibson is mayor of Natchez.

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