McComb officials are expected to discuss a proposal to require mask-wearing within city limits at their work session tonight.

The suggestion appeared on the agenda for tonight’s work session at the request of Selectman Devante Johnson.

A vote wouldn’t come until the July 14 board meeting, but Mayor Quordiniah Lockley said Monday that he is less than optimistic about the prospect.

“Basically it would be like in cities and even states that have mandated masks, when you go out you have to wear a mask,” he said. "I am not against it, but how are we going to enforce it? It is good to issue ordinances but you have to be able to enforce the mandate.”

Johnson added the proposal to the agenda as cases locally exploded over Independence Day.

Southwest Mississippi saw a big jump in cases over the weekend, and Pike County is quickly climbing toward numbers reminiscent of harder-hit Lincoln County, where officials have identified 460 infections and 34 deaths since March 11.

Health officials identified 38 new infections in Pike County, for a total of 431 and 12 deaths recorded since March 11, and a fifth death in Walthall County, where there have been 199 known infections since March.

Lawrence County also noted a second death Monday and 177 infections and Amite County experienced an increase of seven infections after National Guardsmen at a Mississippi State Department of Health mobile coronavirus testing site  in Liberty tested 32 people on Thursday.

Gov. Tate Reeves, himself isolated after House Speaker Philip Gunn and other members of the Mississippi Legislature were diagnosed with coronavirus, asked Mississippians to take precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus amid a statewide surge in cases.

“We don’t think that individuals ought to gather for social purposes in general. That is not smart,” Reeves said. “I hate that there is no understanding or desire to continue fighting this virus so that we can protect ourselves and our neighbors.

“This is a reminder to all of us that this virus is very contagious,” he said. “Make sure that we don’t get in large gatherings for social reasons.”

Reeves said he would remain isolated at the governor’s mansion until his test results are returned.

“Best thing for all: if someone you know gets the virus, isolate until your test comes back at least. That’s my plan,” he tweeted. “Stay safe and stay smart.”

Reeves noted that stress on the state healthcare system is rearing its ugly head.

“It doesn’t do us any good for a patient who needs a ventilator in Hancock County when there’s 600 up in Tishomingo County,” he said. “We have to be willing to take measures to decompress our hospital system.”

He encouraged everybody to wear a mask when out in public, at the grocery store and while at work. He said compliance with the guidance is what will keep Mississippi’s businesses open.

“It is important that we all do our part. Please consider wearing a mask in public,” he said. “It would be horrible for us as a state, economically, to go back to a scenario where we are shutting down businesses.”

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