In response to the continuing public health emergency, Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy will extend the current face covering requirement, which was set to expire Dec. 29, 2020, through 11:59 p.m., Feb. 27, 2021.
“Even with vaccinations in process, it will take well into the Spring of 2021 to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19,” Grandy said. “We need to be vigilant. If wearing a face covering prevents deaths, it is well worth the effort. Business leaders and our public health officials have indicated to me that they would prefer to keep the order in place, insuring uniform use of face coverings at all businesses in our county.”
Use of face coverings where physical distancing of six feet or more is not possible is shown to slow the spread of COVID-19, as well as other respiratory diseases like the flu. Current figures from the Tennessee Department of Health indicate that we need to continue mask use as we head into flu season.
“I also encourage everyone who feels comfortable doing so to get the vaccine when it is offered to the public,” Grandy said. “Bottom line is we must avoid another shut down. Wear a mask when you cannot physically distance from folks, avoiding large crowds and washing your hands.”
Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 73 allows county mayors to extend the face covering mandate as part of provisions to mitigate COVID-19 during and after the holidays. Grandy first announced a countywide mask mandate back in July after a sharp rise in hospitalizations due to COVID-19. The mandate has remained in effect since July 14.
Local orders do not require face coverings when in your home or car; for children under age 12; if you have an underlying medical condition; while eating or drinking; while outdoors if you can maintain physical distance from others; while working outside; or in situations where wearing a face covering poses a security risk.
“We are all in the same boat on this, and need to keep paddling in the same direction,” Grandy said.
To view previous and current executive orders regarding face coverings, please visit washingtoncountytn.org and click on COVID-19 updates.