On July 3, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 to grant county mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local requirements that citizens wear face coverings in public places to slow the spread of COVID-19 and has extended that authority several times, most recently in Executive Order 77, issued today. Governor Lee encouraged every Tennessean across the state to use a face covering, to socially distance and wash hands frequently. Because of the escalating numbers of COVID-19 cases in Williamson County in July, Mayor Anderson implemented a face covering requirement. That requirement has been in effect since July 8, 2020 when deemed necessary, depending on the level of COVID cases in our community. During the months in which Mayor Anderson has implemented a face covering requirement, that decision has been geared toward keeping businesses open, allowing children to physically attend school, and preserving our healthcare and hospital resources.
In light of the significant progress in reduction of COVID cases in recent weeks, and the positive impact on hospital capacity-the Williamson County face covering order will be allowed to expire on February 27, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. However, Mayor Anderson, continues to encourage Williamson Countians voluntarily to wear face coverings when in public places where social distancing is not achievable.
The decrease in the number of active COVID-19 cases is encouraging and Mayor Anderson is optimistic that voluntary compliance with public health advice, including wearing a face covering, washing of hands, and social distancing can help us maintain the progress we have made. The Mayor continues to believe that wearing a face covering in public places, especially indoors when one must be in close proximity with others, is an important way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and urges Williamson County residents to continue to voluntarily wear a facial covering when in public spaces where physical distancing is not possible. The Mayor will continue to closely monitor the number of cases and impact on government and hospital services.
Wearing of a face covering will continue to be required in all County-owned buildings, and the Tennessee Supreme Court’s orders will continue to apply to wearing of face coverings in buildings where court is conducted. In addition, businesses remain free to decide to require masks within their walls for the protection of their employees and customers and are encouraged to do so.
Citizens should also remember that the expiration of the Mayor’s order does not affect the policies adopted by the school systems within Williamson County, and the rules applicable to children in schools will continue to be governed by the Boards of Education and School Superintendents for the school districts.
Continuing to wear a face covering voluntarily can help to keep our schools and businesses open, and Mayor Anderson encourages all citizens to continue to wear face coverings to slow the spread and show respect and concern for their neighbors. In addition, citizens are encouraged to support businesses who protect their employees and customers by requiring face coverings.
Diane Giddens, Chief of Staff
Williamson County Mayor’s Office