New Albany Mayor Tim Kent said he strongly encourages people to wear face masks if they cannot keep proper social distancing of 6 feet.

"Right now we're asking people if they go into a building where they can't stay 6 feet apart to please wear one," Kent said. "We're highly recommending it."

The city of New Albany does not have a mask order in effect, but Kent said it has been discussed.

"You get a lot further with people if you ask them to do something instead of ordering them," the mayor added.

Some local government buildings, including the Union County Courthouse and the sheriff's office, require visitors to wear masks.

As of July 20, Union County has had 325 cases of coronavirus with 11 deaths.

Walmart is now requiring all shoppers to wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Walmart said it is focused on the health and safety of associates and customers.

Wearing a mask is a “simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities,” a Walmart news release says.

Walmart will post clear signage at the front of its stores and has created the role of health ambassador to station near entrances to remind customers without masks of the new requirements. All stores will have a single entrance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says face coverings are a “critical tool” in the fight against COVID-19, “particularly when used universally within communities.”

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

The Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) has also called for a statewide mask mandate.

“We strongly believe that without a statewide mask mandate our state’s healthcare system cannot sustain the trajectory of this outbreak, which could ultimately result in the loss of the lives of many Mississippians,” a statement from the MSMA says.

The city of Tupelo has a mask order in effect. The order states that people must wear a clean face covering when they are in contact with other people in indoor public or business spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance.

Furthermore, the Tupelo order says people should properly wear face coverings to cover the mouth and nose.

In some cases, face coverings are not required under the city of Tupelo order. For instance, a person is not required to wear a face mask if doing so is at odds with their religious beliefs. Restaurant patrons are not required to wear them while dining, and children under 12 are not required to wear them either.

Those who can't wear a face mask due to a medical condition are also not required to wear one.

The face coverings required under the city of Tupelo order do not have to be medical masks or N95 masks. A bandana, scarf, T-shirt and homemade masks may also be used.

The city of Ripley also has a mask order in effect, and it is similar to Tupelo's.

A statewide mask order has been put in place for Alabama.

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