JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves discussed the state’s response to COVID-19 Monday afternoon.

Today marks the beginning of the final stage in the state’s reopening plan, which allows all businesses to reopen if they follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

Social gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors will be allowed, and schools can open for summer programs.

Though the state is loosening its restriction, Gov. Reeves reiterated that the threat of coronavirus is as great as ever, even if, as he says, “the cable channels are moving on.”

“Let me be incredible clear. Coronavirus is deadly, it is contagious, and it is present all over our state,” Reeves said. “We need you to be smart, we need you to stay sharp and please do not let your guard down.”

Gov. Reeves also addressed the killing of George Floyd and the protests that have followed in the state and around the country.

He said he came away “disgusted” and “dismayed” after watching the video of Floyd’s arrest and said he prays justice will be done, although it will not bring Floyd back.

He called it a tragedy and that Americans have a right to be angry and have a right to protest. “It is among the most sacred rights in our country. It is what makes us who we are,” Reeves said.

He said he applauds those who protest and is proud to say that little to no violence or defacement has happened in Mississippi. He did say, however, that the violent scenes around the country are drowning out the message of George Floyd.

Reeves said he does not believe there will be riots in Mississippi because Mississippians do not want to burn down their own communities.

Although the chance of violence is low, Gov. Reeves said he is prepared and that there is no place for anarchists in Mississippi: “This is not a game, this our state.”

He said he will protect those who choose to protest and will “swiftly” deal with those who want disorder and violence.

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