by Kerry Dougherty

There’s so much news we could discuss today. But it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

I’m here to be a little ray of Monday morning sunshine. I want to assure you that a lifetime of living as a free American can’t be wiped out by 14 months of living under the thumb of power-drunk governors.

Yes, I visited one of the Free States over the weekend. And it was exhilarating. Best of all, re-adjusting to normal was easy.

No doubt you’ve been hearing about what it’s like in states such as Florida, Texas and Tennessee. Places where governors realize that lockdowns and mask mandates have little impact on the spread of the virus and where they trust their citizens to make their own decisions about how much risk they are willing to take with their health.

Imagine that.

Unfortunately, we live in Virginia where one man — Gov. Ralph Northam — decides how many people can watch a ballgame or come to your wedding and whether you can buy an adult beverage after midnight.

One by one, friends have returned from Florida vacations this winter with more than a tan. They’re full of intoxicating stories about what it feels like to shop without a mask, go to parties or have a cocktail in a crowded bar.

I’ve been envious.

After all, we’re at a point in Virginia where everyone who wants the vaccine can get it. By all measures, the commonwealth is doing well with CPVID. It’s time to end the endless emergency orders.

Instead, Northam The Imperious warned last week that mask mandates will remain in place even after he lifts crowd size restrictions. Lucky us.

That said, let me tell you what it’s like in Mississippi where Gov. Tate Reeves removed almost all COVID restrictions, including county-imposed mask mandates, in early March:

It’s like a sweet, magnolia-scented breeze. One that you can actually smell.

I flew into Jackson Thursday night and forgot all about the new mask rules when I stopped at a convenience store near the airport for a bottle of water. Though the plate-glass windows I saw the clerk and customers, all barefaced.

Suddenly it was 2019 again. When such a sight would have been perfectly normal.

I was almost giddy as I walked through the doors.

For the next three days I was freed from the tyranny of face diapers. Imagine, if you will, going into a restaurant where you’re not only greeted by a smiling hostess but you’re able to hear the specials that night because your waiter isn’t muffled by a mask.

Best of all, diners aren’t forced to participate in pandemic theater by wearing a mask to their table, removing it to eat and putting it back on to saunter to the restroom.

Shoot, I checked into a hotel without a mask. Shopped without a mask. Sat barefaced on a sunny Saturday afternoon in a crowded baseball stadium at Ole Miss.

No one around me was wearing a mask.

Mississippi businesses, of course, are free to require face coverings but precious few did. I suspect it has something to do with wanting customers.

Yep, some people are still wearing masks in Mississippi. Who cares? It’s a free country. As long as the rest of us aren’t forced to join in.

Maybe it was my imagination, but people seemed happier in Mississippi than they are here.

Then again, maybe it was just that I could see their smiles.

Oh, and by the way, Mississippi’s infection rates, deaths and hospitalizations continue to fall. In spite of citizens being able to breathe free:

Chart of COVID cases from the Mississippi Department of Health.

This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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13 responses to “Maskless in Mississippi”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    I thought what Northam was doing was actually following CDC guidelines, you know, the science, no?

    Between the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers, and anti-science types, we’d be in a heap of trouble if not for adults who do believe science and don’t play kids games about “liberty”.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Kerry’s favorite states are well behind in vaccine rates too.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Hey Larry,
      Thought you might like this…

      And now for the snark… it might hit Australia and land on a piece of Space Lab.

  2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    I love Mississippi. Great state, great people, and good food. Take the Natchez Trace Parkway and you will see what I mean.,q_85/jq4cuomoqx2mzea5mpym/tennessee-natchez-trace-parkway.jpg

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    In the last week, we’ve been to the library, the Walmart, Lowes, the Post Office, Church, CVS, a Car Dealership, and a restaurant – indoors.

    I think virtually Everyone wore masks. Everyone was trying to socially distance.

    All the Karens and Kerry’s must have gone to Mississippi or some such.

    Most folks want to do what is advised, even if they are not 100% convinced of everything the CDC says, they just want to do their part to cooperate and get along and not cause a stink. And then we have the others… who, more often than not, self-identify as Conservatives.

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Head up to Front Royal Mr. Larry. I would say it is half and half with masks. Can’t explain why. 30 miles southeast in Warrenton you see masks everywhere like you do in F’burg.

    2. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      I agree most people will be polite and follow the rules, as I do, and inside a business the rules about masks remain. I’ve been in a few restaurants now and few if any sitting at the tables are masked. But it is absolute nonsense if you are vaccinated, as most adults now are. If the people at the table are spreading, you wearing a mask 20 feet away may not protect you….but the vaccine does. The unfortunate long term effect of this will be reduced confidence that the CDC knows what is talking about….

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        GIven that a substantial number of “conservatives” are opposed to the masks then how do we differentiate in businesses?

        Should we require vaccination cards to go maskless?

        Is this REALLT about the CDC or Northam?

        I asked about the Church (for instance) and found out they are essentially following the CDC advisories – as promulgated by Northam.

        I note the same thing with respect to DMV, the Court system, our local Transportation board, the libraries, and many businesses… from car repair to the Drug stores, etc.

        The opposition to these guidelines by blaming Northam is just dishonest IMHO.

        Yes, each one of us can and does have our own opinion – and our own behavior but at least be honest enough to say who or what agency you’re really disagreeing with.

        To be fair, I think the CDC is erring on the Conservative side of the science.

        But this “anti” stuff has been going on from the get go – from way back when – Conservatives were up in arms about the guidance and the closings – it was never a middle-ground reasonable position – it was opposition from the get go for many if not most of them.

        They blame it on the Governors like Northam but as far as I can tell – his orders on based on CDC guidance.

        So all along, folks were really opposed to the CDC guidance?

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Why Steve takes the denial route on COVID and climate change…

          Because this science is on his side.

          1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead
        2. Stephen Haner Avatar
          Stephen Haner

          Arguing with you is largely a waste of time, but my main point is that the vaccines work very well and that changes everything, removes any justification for all the restrictions, whether well founded or not.

          My mantra remains: Most exposed do not get sick, most who get sick don’t get very sick, most who go to the hospital get well, and now we add those who are vaccinated are free to return to normal…..those who are not, up to them how careful they want to be (masks, distance, etc.) Don’t punish me because they CHOOSE not to get the shots.

  4. And yet we keep wiping every surface down…… against the science….

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