Tennessee Gov. gives localities authority to extend mask mandates through April 28

Tennessee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee puts on his mask during a break in the state budget hearings Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. According to a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine study released Tuesday, Tennessee counties that have not required wearing masks in public are on average seeing COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Lee has opposed a statewide mask mandate, stressing personal responsibility. He has instead allowed counties to decide whether to require masks. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued an updated executive order that gives continuing guidance to localities about mask mandates.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been a statewide mask mandate in place in the state of Tennessee, however, local authorities were given the authority to issue mask mandates within their own jurisdictions.

In the updated executive order it read in part, “county mayors in the 89 counties that do not have a locally run county health department shall have the authority to issue orders or measures requiring or recommending the wearing of face coverings within their jurisdictions.”

The newly signed executive order is in effect through April 28.

It was in July 2020 when Governor Lee, “signed Executive Order 54 to grant county mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local mask requirements in the event of a significant rise in COVID-19 cases.”

Friday afternoon, officials in Sullivan County announced they have extended their mask mandate through March 31.

This comes after several local counties lifted their mask mandates last week, but requested that people continue to wear them.

Ballad Health has also encouraged people to continue to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

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