JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Monday afternoon, Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy issued a face mask requirement. The mandate is set to start at 12:01 am July 13th, with few exceptions.
Reaction to the mandate varies across the board…some say they welcome the new initiative to stop the spread of COVID-19 while others say they won’t comply.
“I think it’s a little bit overdue, given the way the cases have risen in Tennessee and in this area,” said Gabe Eveland, owner of Tennessee Tails and Gabriel’s Christmas in Jonesborough. “So, we’re actually very glad that the mandate has gone in.”
As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase across the region, Washington County is the second county to issue a mandatory mask requirement.
“About 80% of our customers have been wearing masks. We do certainly get customers that either are unaware of the masks or simply choose not to wear a mask,” said Eveland. “We strongly encourage it. We haven’t really had a situation where anybody has been unpleasant about it.”
Just down the way on Main Street, The Tennessee Hemp company started requiring their customers to wear masks Friday.
“We do know that there’s a lot of people from out of town in area right now especially with the All Star race being in our area,” said chief operating officer, D.W. Cooper. “So, I thought it was best to just try to be ahead of the curve.”
But on social media, those on the other side of the debate sounding off, saying things like wearing masks should be a choice, it causes anxiety for some and that it shouldn’t be mandated.
Business owners say they’re for the mandate, especially if it helps to keep the doors open.
“Small town businesses need to stay open. Another shut down would be devastating to the small businessman. So, I’m asking everybody, please mask up,” Cooper said.
Mayor Grandy said he will not ask law enforcement to make sure people are complying. However, the mandate does give businesses the right to refuse service to those not wearing a mask.
Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.