This post has been updated on July 20.
As Tennessee has started allowing local governments to mandate masks, WPLN News has compiled some of the latest rules to go into effect.
Some counties hopped on board almost immediately. Others have asked for some time to decide, and a few have said explicitly they will not create a mandate. This conversation comes as cases in Tennessee have surged over the past few weeks. Statewide, the governor has declined to pass any kind of rule but does “encourage every Tennessean across the state to use a face covering or mask.”
Where masks are required:
- Davidson County: Metro Nashville already had authority to mandate masks, and did so several days before the state’s new rule.
- Williamson County: The order calls for face coverings “in indoor public places and in outdoor public places where distancing is not possible.”
- Sumner County: “Now is the time to take proactive measures and focus on the health of our family, friends, neighbors and community,” says Mayor Anthony Holt.
- Robertson County: Mayor Billy Vogle’s announcement borrows most of Holt’s language, and also notes that “Robertson County is in the higher bracket for COVID cases in the state.”
- Montgomery County: Clarksville and the surrounding county are mandating that employees of businesses wear masks, though patrons are not required to.
- Wilson County: Mayor Randall Hutto issued then retracted a mask mandate last month, saying at the time it wasn’t clear local leaders could require masks. After local governments were given that power, Hutto said in a press conference that he wouldn’t issue another mandate. Then he reversed course again a week later, less than 24 hours after the school board voted to not mandate masks when schools reopen in the fall.
- Rutherford County: Mayor Bill Ketron also reversed course July 20 after initially “strongly encouraging” mask wearing. “The reality is, some of our citizens and visitors just are not taking this health event seriously enough,” he said in a release.
- Dickson County: Mayor Bob Rial is only requiring masks in county buildings, according to the Tennessean.
Where masks will not be required:
- Maury County: Mayor Andy Ogles says his opposition is rooted in “liberty, freedom, and personal responsibility.”
- Cheatham County: Mayor Kerry McCarver is encouraging but not requiring masks in situations where social distancing isn’t possible because he says Gov. Bill Lee has not outlined who would enforce local mandates or directed state funding to cover costs involved with enforcement.
- Putnam County: Mayor Randy Porter is encouraging residents to follow CDC guidelines but is not mandating masks, citing in a lengthy Facebook post, the fact that the county has less than 300 cases compared to its population of 80,000 people. He says he will continue monitoring the situation and will “make changes as necessary.”
- Coffee County: Mayor Gary Cordell said he would not mandate masks but is encouraging their use in public.
- Marshall County: Mayor Mike Keny says he will not mandate masks at this time.
- Hickman County: Mayor Mark Bentley declined to issue a mask mandate, noting the relatively small number of cases in the county.
- Trousdale County: Mayor Stephen Chambers told the Hartsville Vidette in early July that he would not require masks. The county has a high number of cases, mostly from within the prison in Hartsville.