Today, Thursday October 22, 2020, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson is issuing a new Declaration of Public Health Emergency, which includes a face covering mandate. After consultation with mayors of the various municipalities in Williamson County, the School Superintendents for the two school districts within the County, as well as physicians and members of the health care community, Mayor Rogers Anderson has determined that it is appropriate to require cloth or other face coverings in certain circumstances in Williamson County to slow the spread of COVID-19.
After Governor Lee authorized County Mayors to require face coverings within their jurisdictions, Mayor Anderson issued a face covering requirement for the months of July and August due to escalating numbers of COVID-19 cases in Williamson County at that time. Williamson County was successful in reopening businesses, opening schools for in-person learning, and providing government services while reducing the spread of COVID-19 through this and other health and safety measures. Once the numbers were reduced, the face covering mandate was allowed to expire on August 29, 2020. However, in the past thirty days, numbers have again significantly increased, putting the continued operation of businesses, schools and governmental services in jeopardy. “No one likes the fact that it is necessary to reinstitute a mask mandate in our county. Unfortunately, the numbers can’t be ignored,” Anderson said.
The Mayor’s declaration containing the mandate, which is attached, will be effective Saturday, October 24, at 12:01 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. on October 30, when Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order 63 expires. The Governor’s office has announced that he anticipates extending the authority through the end of the calendar year. If the Governor issues the anticipated extension, Mayor Anderson intends to extend the mask mandate for Williamson County through the end of the calendar year.
Mayor Anderson said, “I appreciate the Governor giving us the tools to address this issue without forcing a one-size-fits-all state-wide order. I believe local government is best positioned to make these decisions, even when they are difficult. At the end of the day, I believe this order is in the best interest of our community.” Mayor Anderson recognizes that there are many varying opinions on this issue, but believes this mandate is a necessary safety measure for our local businesses and schools to remain open in the coming months.
Citizens should carefully read the order, as there are several exceptions based upon specific health or safety issues, as well as situations where individuals can safely distance and do not need to wear face coverings for their safety.
The Williamson County Emergency Management Agency is releasing a COVID-19 Toolkit today which includes social media graphics, decision trees, slideshows, and flyers. The toolkit has information on safety measures, decision making regarding social events and more. Citizens and local partners can find the tool kit at www.williamsonready.org, download content, and add their own branding. A local, Williamson County COVID-19 hotline number will also be available beginning Monday, October 25, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for any questions or concerns. The number is (615) 595-4880. For more information on Governor Lee’s executive orders and statewide COVID-19 numbers, visit https://covid19.tn.gov/.