WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – County mayors in Washington, Carter and Unicoi Counties have decided to lift their counties’ face covering requirements starting Saturday, February 20.

According to a release from the mayors of each county, the mandates will be lifted at 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

The mayors are now requesting that residents wear face coverings, but they are not required.

The release says the decision was made due to the falling hospitalization rates in the counties and the increased number of vaccinated individuals.

“Our citizens have demonstrated that they can and will protect their neighbors by wearing face coverings where physical distancing is not possible,” according to the release.

Businesses will still be able to request masks be worn and safety measures in school systems will not be impacted.

The release states the Tennessee Supreme Court’s orders will still apply in regards to face coverings being required in courthouses.

Limitations on spectators at high school and college sporting events are not impacted by the decision to lift the mandates.

County mayors still ask that residents wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible, like when attending church services or entering grocery stores.

“Continuing to wear a face covering voluntarily will help keep our schools and businesses open. Getting vaccinated is also instrumental into stopping the spread of COVID-19. We need to continue to work together, support and protect each other as we move forward,” the release reads.