Dozens of motorists drive around governor’s mansion to urge Mississippi’s reopening

Published 9:50 pm Saturday, April 25, 2020

Dozens of Mississippi motorists drove around downtown Jackson on Saturday, honking horns and encircling the Governor’s Mansion in an effort to get Gov. Tate Reeves to fully reopen the state.

The drive-thru rally, which lasted about an hour, was established by a group called Reopen Mississippi.

A spokeswoman for the group told The Clarion Ledger that many in the state are hurting.

“So many of our beloved small businesses are closing,” Napp said.

The group said Reeves’ shelter-in-place orders violate Mississippi citizens’ rights and freedoms protected by both the U.S. Constitution and Mississippi Constitution.

Nationally, Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders, according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Reeves said Friday that a safer-at-home order will go into effect Monday that will allow several retail businesses to reopen, but they must limit customers in their stores at one time to no greater than 50% of their store capacity, the governor said. Reeves acknowledged that the group had the right to protest its government and its leaders.

“While I would rather them not be protesting what’s going on in Mississippi, I fully support and appreciate their right to do so,” he said Friday. “People are upset and frustrated because of the challenges so many of us are under. … I just hope and pray they protest in a smart way.”
Saturday’s protest had a limited police presence and it appeared orderly.

There were no signs of speeding and motorists appeared to follow all traffic regulations. A handful of people watched as cars, some flying the American and state flags, passed by honking their horns.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Department of Health announced 12 additional deaths and 284 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the state’s total cases to more than 5,710, with at least 221 deaths.