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Panola supervisors have short mask policy discussion

A county-wide policy of requiring citizens to wear masks in public places came up again Monday morning at the Panola County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, with the board as a whole making it clear they would not support any ordinance that would put a penalty to not wear a face covering.

Supervisor Earl Burdette (Dist. 2) was the only supervisor who wore a mask at the meeting, and supported the suggestion of Emergency Management director Daniel Cole, who asked the board to consider requiring anyone entering the courthouses or other county offices to wear a mask.

The other supervisors had little discussion about the matter, and Sheriff Shane Phelps effectively ended the conversation when board president Cole Flint (Dist. 5) asked how law enforcement would go about enforcing a mask in public policy.

“We won’t be writing anybody a ticket for not wearing a mask, plain and simple,” Phelps said. “We’re not going to do that.”

Upon hearing Phelps’ statement, Cole moved to the next agenda item and the board had no further discussion.

In Mississippi on Monday, an executive order from Gov. Tate Reeves went into effect that will require citizens to wear masks in 13 counties where high rates of coronavirus infections have been recorded in the past two weeks. Closest to Panola of those counties are DeSoto, Quitman,  and Grenada. Some cities, including Oxford and Tupelo, have similar masks and public gathering measures currently in place.