Tennessee’s 89 counties where the state controls the local health departments no longer have the authority to issue local mask mandates.
Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order removing local mask authority Tuesday morning.
He also requested that Davidson, Shelby, Hamilton, Knox, Sullivan and Madison counties lift any remaining mask requirements and COVID-related business restrictions. Davidson County has not announced an end to indoor masking, though on Tuesday morning Nashville did announce an end to all capacity restrictions.
“COVID-19 is now a managed public health issue in Tennessee and no longer a statewide public health emergency,” Lee says. “As Tennesseans continue to get vaccinated, it’s time to lift remaining local restrictions, focus on economic recovery and get back to business in Tennessee.”
A widely available vaccine changes everything and it’s a new season in Tennessee. I am not renewing any public health orders because COVID-19 is no longer a health emergency in our state.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) April 27, 2021
While vaccines are widely available, the state’s vaccination rates have begun to slow down. And Tennessee already had among the lowest vaccination rate in the country.
Only about 24% Tennesseans have been fully vaccinated statewide. Roughly 34% of residents, however, have received at least one dose.
In response to the tapering demand, county health departments will now offer a walk-up vaccination options for Tennesseans aged 16 and older. Nashville began offering shots without appointments last week but has seen far less uptake than expected.