Coast residents sound off on possible citywide mask requirements

Despite mask mandates going into effect in cities across the Coast, feelings are mixed about it.

Coast residents sound off on possible citywide mask requirements
Despite mask mandates going into effect in cities across the Coast, feelings are mixed about it. (Source: Photo WLOX)

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Mask mandates have been a hot topic lately as local government officials work to find an answer to the surge in cases.

Multiple cities along the coast - including Biloxi, D’Iberville, Moss Point, Pascagoula and more - have made it mandatory for masks when entering city buildings. Others like Ocean Springs say they’re not ready to make masks a requirement for anyone.

On Wednesday, Gov. Reeves said while statewide mask mandates are not in the works right now, municipalities and county governments are encouraged to require masks as they deem necessary for their area.

“At this point, we believe very strongly that if you wear a mask, you can help protect yourselves and protect your neighbors. Bottom line,” said Reeves during a press briefing.

As the number of coronavirus cases surpassed 32,0000 in Mississippi, Reeves urged people to wear a mask when in public and

“I can’t say that any more clearly or any more plainly than this: wear a mask,” he said.

Despite mask mandates going into effect in cities across the Coast, feelings are mixed about it. Many people have expressed opinions on social media saying they shouldn’t have to wear a mask if they don’t want to.

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Others say everyone should be wearing a mask when in public so there is a collective effort to keep everyone safe.

“It’s just unfortunate that everybody doesn’t feel the same way,” said Renee Candebat, who supports mandated masks. “Because I’m wearing my mask to protect you, but others don’t feel like they need to wear a mask to protect me.”

“I just think it’s important to worry about other people beside yourself, and just wear the mask because that’s what they’re asking you to do,” agreed Frances Huck.

Some say mask mandates are especially necessary on the Coast because of the large number of tourists that visit the area.

“I want to see people back to life. I want to see people back to work,” said Stephen Stelly. “But we have the casinos open down here, and it’s a smart thing for people to wear a mask to protect other people, if not yourself, so I’m okay with it.”

In addition to considering a citywide mask requirement, Long Beach is also taking other precautions including canceling next weekend's events at the Town Green for Jeepin the Coast.

Stacey Welch thinks it's a smart move.

“It’s drawing too many crowds and, like I said, until the numbers level off, I think we’re just going to have to bite the bullet to get everything in check,” she said.

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