Former Mississippi lawmaker defies governor’s mask mandate


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)- Governor Tate Reeves issued a new executive order for 13 counties to follow strict mask and social distancing guideline, but one of his former opponents is against the order.

UPDATE: 11:00 p.m. – For the past couple weeks, Governor Tate Reeves and doctors with the state health department have been stressing to people to stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask and practice social distancing. But now, a former opponent of the Governor says he won’t follow those orders.

“I think he’s overstepping his authority,” DeSoto business owner Robert Foster said. “I think it’s almost like being a dictator.”

In a lengthy Facebook post, the former gubernatorial expressed frustration with Governor Reeves executive order that places restrictions on 13 counties, including Desoto where Foster works and lives.

The former state representative wrote, “Governor, I am openly defying your public mask mandate and social distancing executive orders, now what are you going to do about it?”

“I don’t think they can understand that themselves because they haven’t run a business themselves,” Foster continued. “That’s the point I’m trying to make. They don’t have a clue what they’re actually doing to us because they have never been in our position.” 

This comes as DeSoto County saw 78 new cases in a week, with 890 per capita. Reeves and state doctors reacted to avoid overwhelming hospitals. 

“A reduction down to no social gatherings of more than 10 indoors or 20 outdoors,” Gov. Reeves explained in a state address on July 8. “We would require that all citizens must wear masks at a public gathering or a shopping environment.”

On top of the 50% capacity rule in restaurants, Foster hit back in his post claiming “there’s nothing that our government can do to stop this virus.” Arguing these regulations will destroy already crippling family businesses. Adding going out is a personal risk.

“When somebody comes out to my restaurant to eat, they’re making a choice,” Foster told us. “They know the risks; they choose to go out and eat in a public restaurant. They don’t have to do that. So why would you punish the rest of civilization and society and force us to not be able to live our lives.”

Foster did acknowledge if you are old, live with some who’s vulnerable, or know you’re personally vulnerable to the virus to stay home as much as possible. But he’s calling out health experts, including state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

“Dr. Dobbs who thinks he’s the only physician in the state who has an opinion, there’s a lot of other physicians who have contradicting opinions to his,” Foster said. “He’s being paid by the state, so his opinion is government gives the government more authority.” 

Foster continued to say if he did face push back by law enforcement he’s willing to go to jail over his belief. We reached out to Governor Reeves’s administration for a response. So far, we haven’t heard back. For foster’s full post click here. 

“I’ve made changes, we’re using disposable menus; we’re not putting caddies on the tables that can contain and hold germs from one table to the next. We’re cleaning and sanitizing tables and all of the areas that are high traffic. Putting hand sanitizer in high traffic areas and doorways. But there’s just some things that are unreasonable and unmanageable in the long-term bleeding out money with all these regulations and it has to stop at some point,” said Foster.

Foster advises those who are vulnerable to the virus to stay at home.


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