HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker announced an executive order Monday extending the city’s mask order.
The mask order was set to expire Monday at 8 a.m. after Barker extended the order for one week on June 29. It will now expire on Monday, July 20 at 8 a.m.
The extension comes after Gov. Tate Reeves extended his Safe Return order until July 20.
According to Barker, the Hattiesburg health care system has reached a new high when it comes to COVID-19 hospitalizations and coronavirus patients in the ICU.
“As of today, our local hospital system now has the highest number of COVID-positive patients thus far in the hospital and ICU,” Barker said. “This should give us pause as we go forward to understand we are in the midst of a big wave right now. We also see this in terms of our total active cases as a region.”
Barker said the 24 patients in the ICU come from 12 different counties, but about one-third of those cases are from Forrest County. Between Merit Health Wesley and Forrest General, there are 51 hospitalized patients confirmed to have COVID-19 with another 14 under investigation.
The executive order extends all previous mask orders and capacity limits for businesses in the city.
Under the order, employees of all essential and nonessential businesses must wear masks.
“If you work around other people or if you work in the same room as the public, you have to wear a mask,” Barker said.
Customers of all essential and nonessential retail businesses as well as barbershops and salons must wear masks as well. This applies to all customers aged 6 years or older, though the order excludes people who have trouble breathing or have a disability or medical condition that would prevent them from wearing a mask.
You can view the full executive order here.