FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show Letter Announcing The End Of Mississippi’s Mask Mandate
An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a letter from Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announcing the end of the statewide face mask mandate on Oct. 1.
The letter is fabricated, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
Reeves in early August signed an executive order requiring Mississippi residents to wear masks in public to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, according to The Associated Press.
In recent days, an image of an alleged letter announcing the end of the statewide mask mandate on Oct. 1 has circulated widely on social media. The letter, which features a Mississippi seal, claims Reeves signed on Sept. 17 an executive order ending the mask mandate.
“This is a formal letter to all of the Residents and Business in Mississippi, the beginning of October 2020 the statewide mask requirements will be abolished,” reads the supposed letter, in part. “Meaning that it will be no longer required to wear them in the state of Mississippi, NO BUSINESS can refuse your entry with out a mask on. All business are hereby ordered to take down all facemasks must be worn on or in they establishments.”
However, a review of executive orders on the Mississippi Secretary of State website shows that, at the time of publication, Reeves has not issued an executive order since Sept. 15. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency debunked the letter as fake in a Sept. 27 Facebook post.
“A ‘letter’ claiming to be from the governor’s office is circulating on social media,” the post from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reads. “The letter is a FAKE. Stay up to date with the latest executive orders posted on the Secretary of State’s website. And any major changes will be addressed in a press conference and an updated executive order.”
While the letter being shared is fabricated, Mississippi’s current mask mandate is set to expire Sept. 30 unless the governor chooses to extend it, according to local ABC affiliate WAPT. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show CDC Document About Face Masks)
Reeves’ office did not respond to a request for comment.