Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves: ‘I Should Have’ Worn Mask at Funeral

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  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday that because of the coronavirus pandemic, he should have worn a mask during a funeral a day earlier where hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered to honor a Simpson County deputy sheriff killed in the line of duty.

    “I did have a mask. It was in my pocket. I should have put it on,” Reeves said during a news conference.

    He was responding to reporters’ questions about why he didn’t cover his mouth and nose while standing next to the family of James Blair during Blair’s funeral in Mendenhall. Public health officials have said for months that masks and social distancing are important ways to try to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus.

    Blair, 77, was shot and killed Friday while taking a man to a mental health facility. Blair had worked in public safety more than 50 years.

    Reeves said he was focused on supporting Blair’s family and law enforcement officers.

    “If y’all want to shame me for the way in which I handled it – go for it. That’s part of your job,” Reeves told reporters. “But I will not apologize for attending this funeral for this slain law enforcement officer.”

    Reeves said he will always attend services honoring officers who are killed in the line of duty.

    During briefings in recent weeks, Reeves has told people to avoid large gatherings, including funerals.

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