BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - There was some concern that tourism in South Mississippi would be affected after Governor Tate Reeves lifted the statewide mask mandate at the end of September.
However, Coastal Mississippi leaders said tourism is continuing to thrive as they continue to ensure safety for visitors.
“I’ve known people that’s had the virus, so I still try to protect myself,” said Louisiana resident Robert Oquin.
Despite state mandates changing, most tourists choose to lean on their own safety measures instead of depending on state or local leaders.
“It’s a wake-up call for everybody to start washing their hands a little bit more often," said Louisiana resident Lacy Smiley. “People need to start; it’s sad to say that something like this had to happen, but people need to practice their hygiene a little better to stop spreading disease.”
Without a mask mandate in place, CEO of Coastal Mississippi Milton Segarra said they’ve created a health promise with their vendors to eliminate any fear travelers may have.
“It was good to have the mandate through the entire state. That helped us tremendously to provide that additional level of comfort, but we feel very comfortable if we keep doing what we’re doing right now to make sure when people visit us they will be safe,” Segarra said.
Some tourists said the lifted mandate is the reason they continue to visit and hope to see similar changes back home.
Gov. Tate Reeves said he believes masks work, but if there is a need to enforce masks in South Mississippi to support safe tourism, he encourages local leaders to use their ability to implement those safety measures.