RIPLEY • The Board of Aldermen approved an executive order issued by Mayor Chris Marsalis on Wednesday evening that requires all people to wear a mask or other face covering when at an indoor public building or business.

The order was imposed due to the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the City of Ripley. It is meant to support the local health systems in their response to the virus and to strive to keep the city's economy open.

The order will go into effect at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 10. It states that "all persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of Ripley shall wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people in indoor public or business spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance."

The order does not mandate that people wear a mask or face covering while outdoors.

Businesses are asked to post signage at entrances informing patrons of the mask requirement. Business owners will have the ability to ask customers to leave if they do not comply with the mask orders.

People are not required to wear masks if they have religious exemptions, health conditions that prevents wearing a mask, work at a private office with fewer than 10 employees, are a child younger than 12, work at a small office that does not interact with the public, or work at a bank or other business that contains a physical barrier between customers and employees. Restaurant patrons are not required to wear a mask while dining.

Businesses may seek an exemption from the order at Ripley City Hall located at 500 South Main Street, Ripley, Mississippi 38663.

“This follows along with Tupelo and a number of other North Mississippi cities that have implemented (a mask ordinance),” said Mayor Marsalis at the board meeting Wednesday. "We would all like to have college football this year, and we feel like having a mask requirement to stop the spread of the virus in our community and hopefully statewide, we will be able to play ball and get back to normal."

The Mississippi State Department of Health on Wednesday reported 674 new COVID-19 cases and 30 new deaths related to the virus. This brings the state’s total number of cases to 32,888 and the total number of deaths to 1,188. Tippah County has reported 142 cases and 11 deaths since March 11.

More than 22,100 COVID-19 patients in the state are presumed to have recovered from the virus.

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