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Mississippi governor removes most COVID-19 restrictions

April 30, 2021 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Friday erased most restrictions he had set to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Republican governor left one restriction in place — a mandate for students who are 6 or older to wear masks in schools for the rest of the current academic year. The school year ends within the next few weeks in most parts of the state.

The governor’s new executive order removes capacity restrictions for sports events. Previously, indoor arenas could only fill two-thirds of their seats to allow for social distancing. School sporting events and other activities were limited to 50% capacity for both indoor and outdoor events.

Now, both indoor and outdoor school activities are no longer under capacity restrictions.

“Getting our kids back in school last August was one of the most important decisions of the pandemic and keeping them in the classroom is one of my top priorities,” Reeves said in a statement Friday. “Even so — our class of 2021 has not been afforded a normal senior year. I want every one of them to attend their graduation and I want everyone in their family to be able to join them!”

Reeves had already removed mask requirements in public spaces and all capacity restrictions for restaurants, bars and other businesses.

The governor said he still encourages people to wear face coverings, maintain social distance and wash their hands while around other people. He said people who feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend social events.