Republican Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on Tuesday that the state will be fully reopening businesses starting Wednesday, Daily Wire reports.
"Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules," Reeves announced in a tweet.
"Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!"
New daily positive coronavirus tests have fallen dramatically in Mississippi since the beginning of the year. While new cases peaked in early January with nearly 3,000 cases across the state in a single day, the state recorded only 199 new cases on Mar 1.
Reeves expressed dismay with the executive orders "that interfered with peoples' lives," referring to the restrictions placed on businesses and gatherings, but justified them as "the only possible intervention" at the time.
"We've been among the 4 or 5 most open states throughout this crisis, and we’ve been rewarded for it with more jobs and economic recovery," he said glowingly. "That's not because what we put in place was a light burden. It's only because the rest of the country was so harsh."
The lockdowns "have to end at the earliest possible moment," Reeves further insisted. 'This is that moment for Mississippi."
The announcement comes just hours after Texas Governor Greg Abbott, also a Republican, announced that his state will be lifting all restrictions on businesses and will be doing away with state mask mandates.
Mississippi has recorded nearly 300,000 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago, resulting in nearly 7,000 deaths out of a population of nearly three million.