Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Wednesday said he will still hold holiday parties at his home this month for friends, family, and lawmakers, despite the coronavirus surge in his state.
There are 122 members of the Mississippi House of Representatives and 52 members of the Senate, and he will have separate parties for both chambers. Reeves told WAPT he has invited “primarily friends and family to a couple of events, but also those individuals that are statewide leaders or agency heads or certainly leaders in the House and Senate.” Many of them “will choose not to come, which is certainly their prerogative,” he added, “but we’ll certainly open the mansion to no more than 10 people indoors,” with the rest congregating outside. He also said everyone at his parties will be required to wear a mask while inside.
As of Wednesday, there have been 170,672 confirmed coronavirus cases in Mississippi, with 4,041 deaths. Over the last month, the state’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases has increased from 804 to 1,931, and there are now 1,125 COVID-19 hospitalizations. The Mississippi Health Department is advising residents to avoid gatherings that include people outside of their immediate family or household.
In July, there was a coronavirus outbreak in the Mississippi statehouse, with 30 legislators and 11 others testing positive for COVID-19. State Rep. Chris Bell (D) told WAPT he was invited to one of the holiday parties at the governor’s mansion, but RSVPed no. Over the summer, lawmakers didn’t follow recommendations to socially distance and avoid gatherings of 50 or more people, and Bell said he has “the same concerns today with respect to this Christmas party.” Catherine Garcia