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Many Local Businesses to Still Require Masks Despite Executive Order

Despite Gov. Tate Reeves’ executive order Tuesday removing mask mandates and other COVID-19-related requirements for businesses, and the Oxford Board of Aldermen agreeing to follow that order, many businesses in Oxford will still be requiring face coverings.

So don’t burn those masks just yet.

Some companies, like Dollar General, will be requiring employees to wear masks and will be encouraging customers to continue to wear them.

Others, including Kroger, have said that everyone will be required to wear masks inside their stores.

“The Kroger family of companies will continue to require everyone in our stores across the country to wear masks until all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” Kroger said in a statement.

Walgreens and CVS will also still require customers to wear masks.

The Oxford Walmart and Larson’s CashSaver could not be reached for comment by 2 p.m. Any updated information will be added to this story.

Many local restaurants will also be sticking with face coverings, including Ajax, GRIT, Saint Leo and all the restaurants in the City Grocery Restaurant Group, which includes Big Bad Breakfast, Snackbar, Boure’ and City Grocery.

“We will hold on until more of our staff is inoculated and we see what lifting mandates does,” Chef John Currence told Hottytoddy.com this afternoon. “Staff was canvassed fully and unanimously decided to keep mandates in place.”

“In spite of the city aldermen’s decision to lift mandates on masks and social distancing, staff and management have decided unanimously to keep those restrictions in place out of an abundance of caution,” stated Big Bad Breakfast on its Facebook page.

Many other local businesses have announced they will continue to follow federal guidelines like Chickory Market and Sneed’s Hardware.

“For the safety of our staff and customers who have not yet received the vaccine or are otherwise vulnerable, we will continue to require masks and limit capacity in the market. We are a small family business that has managed, through much ingenuity and hard work, to stay open and COVID-free, and we want to protect this place for all in our community, whether or not they are eligible for a vaccine. Because requirements will vary across town, we will have disposable masks to hand out for anyone who forgets,” Chicory Market stated on Facebook.

Reeves Executive Order goes into effect today at 5 p.m.

“Our hospitalizations have plummeted, and our case numbers have fallen dramatically as well,” Reeves said. “In fact, our case numbers have fallen to the point where no county meets the original criteria for a mask mandate.”

Reeves advised Mississippians to continue listening to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and other health advisors for “the best possible wisdom regarding how you can personally stem any risk of catching COVID.”

However, K-12 schools were not included in the order. The Lafayette County and Oxford school districts announced that teachers and students will still be required to wear masks while at school.

On Tuesday evening, the Oxford Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to follow the governor’s order.

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