Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday that the state would not participate in a lockdown if President-elect Joe Biden issues a federal mandate for one next year.
In a video conference, Reeves did not acknowledge Biden as the declared President-elect, and he said shutting down the economy again would be “totally and completely beyond reasonableness.”
“We’re going to try to work with whomever the president is, but we’re not going to participate in a nationwide lockdown,” Reeves said.
He said he would be willing to help the commander in chief slow the spread of the virus in other ways, WLBT reported.
“The people of Mississippi can’t just go home, shut down their small businesses ... for six weeks and just think that you can come back six weeks from now, flip a switch, and everything’s going to be fine. That’s not how the economy works," Reeves said.
“It does us no great good to shut down counties just so we can ... say, ‘Hey, look at us, we’ve been shutting things down,'" he added. "We’re trying to open things up but do it in a safe, responsible way. We’re not going to shut down businesses.”
Reeves said he believes in state-managed, locally executed and federally supported initiatives to combat COVID-19.
While Biden has not announced plans to shut the country down again, one of the 13 advisers he appointed to a coronavirus task force suggested a four- to six-week lockdown could get the pandemic under control and revive the economy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. in the last seven days. Mississippi has reported 7,455 new cases in the last week. Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin, California, Michigan and Ohio have all reported more than 40,000 new cases in the last week.
Reeves' daughter is among those who have tested positive for the virus in recent days. He and his wife have tested negative.
About 10.6 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S. since the onset of the pandemic.
“We want to strongly encourage [Mississippi residents] that if you go in public, wear a mask ... because if we work together, we can truly slow the spread of this virus,” Reeves said. “There is nothing that we can do that is foolproof. There is nothing that we can do — no mitigation measures that we can do that guarantees the elimination of the virus, and so what we’re talking about is trying to attack it in a number of different ways while we do not allow for the shutdown of our economy but that we do the little things that can slow the virus at the margin which can help protect the integrity of our health care system.”
Reeves celebrated the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative to produce a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year and criticized Democratic opposition that has supported the delay of vaccine dissemination by January.
“It’s not the time to play politics,” Reeves said. “That’s just a fact.”