DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - The Mississippi governor’s mask mandate is now in effect across 13 Mississippi counties, including DeSoto and Quitman counties.
It comes as the state reports nearly 400 additional new cases of COVID-19.
Governor Tate Reeves didn’t hold back Monday, warning about the dangers COVID-19 poses to Mississippi.
“This is the worst it’s ever been for spread of cases in our state,” said Reeves. “It is the most stressed our hospital system has been to date.”
Reeves’ warnings come as the state reported 393 new cases on Monday, including one new death. The total number of cases confirmed in Mississippi grew to 36,680. The total number of deaths now stands at 1,250.
DeSoto County's case count stands at 2,009, the second-highest total in the state.
The county has recorded 20 deaths.
That's why DeSoto County is among 13 counties where Reeves has issued a mask mandate, requiring residents to wear a face mask in public gatherings and in shopping environments.
"This is the best weapon we have right now. It's not fun, but it's a hell of a lot better than widespread economic shutdowns," said Reeves.
Former state lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster shared a post on Facebook, openly defiant of the governor's order, saying he won't wear a mask or make customers at his Hernando business wear one, calling it "nonsense."
But elsewhere in Hernando, WMC saw customers and shop keepers wearing their masks.
Kim Derryberry owns Side Alley Gifts on Highway 51.
"We're busier now than we were before the pandemic," said Derryberry.
Derryberry says she understands how people on both sides of the mask debate feel.
"I think it should be everybody's choice if they want to wear it or not but we're wearing it in here," said Derryberry.
Her customers didn't seem to have a problem and neither do the folks at Coffee Central, which shares the same space.
"We've been wearing masks as we serve the community for the last few months through all of this. No problems with the customers whatsoever," said Tina Tatum, the owner of Coffee Central, which has locations in Hernando and Southaven. "I think they're doing what they need to do to keep us safe and you know we're just going to adhere to that and keep moving forward."
Reeves say those 13 counties were chosen for a reason because of their growing case counts.
He says more counties could be added to the list if the numbers don’t start going in the right direction.