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Governor lays out new restrictions at Mississippi bars, mandates masks in public in six additional counties

Gov. Tate Reeves' actions came as state set new daily record for COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide.

JACKSON, Mississippi — For at least the next week or so, they'll be new limitations at bars across Mississippi, as Gov. Tate Reeves attempts to stop the surge of new COVID-19 cases.

"That's why are fighting against, that's what we are trying to avoid, not only deaths but hospitalizations and more stress on the system," Gov. Reeves said.

In Gov. Reeves' amended Safe Return order - in effect through the morning of Monday, August 3rd - social gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors & 20 people outdoors, bars can only sell alcohol to seated customers, no alcohol can be sold at restaurants or bars from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m and tables limited to six people remain in effect.

"Our bars must look more like restaurants and less like mobs of COVID-19 spread," Gov. Reeves said.

Mississippi reported its highest and second highest one-day totals of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and Friday, with the Magnolia State nearly doubling its total cases the past four weeks, with total COVID-19 hospitalizations surging 37% the past two weeks.

"If there are thousands and thousands and thousands of 25-year-olds walking around , many of whom are asymptomatic but are continuing to spread it, then it's that next generation or that next generation beyond that that is going to lead as we've said a likely indicator of more deaths," Gov. Reeves said.

Gov. Reeves said backup plans are in motion as Mississippi hospitals expand their available hospital capacity.

The state's health director conceded this week a temporary field hospital - and extra staff - may be necessary if the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations doesn't stabilize or drop off soon.

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