Tate Reeves has nudged Mississippi’s response to COVID-19 back toward some balance between managing a health crisis and a potentially worse economic one.

On Friday, the governor extended his shelter-in-place order for at least another week, hoping that will be enough time to start seeing a drop in new cases of and deaths from COVID-19. At the same time he relaxed some of his earlier restrictions. He is allowing nonessential businesses — such as clothing and gift stores — to reopen as long as customers don’t come inside, and for lakes and Gulf Coast beaches to reopen as long as individuals maintain a safe distance from each other and groups don’t get larger than 10.

It’s a modest change but still a start toward easing off from the blanket approach that imposed severe restrictions across the state and contributed to putting 130,000 people and counting out of work.

In another week, Reeves said, he may start taking a targeted approach, lifting restrictions further where the outbreak of COVID-19 has tempered and keeping them on where it has not.

That’s a reasonable strategy.

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