As the mask mandate in Williamson County nears its expiration date, county mayor Rogers Anderson said if Gov. Bill Lee extends local mayors’ authority on the matter, he would again have conversations with community leaders concerning an extension of the mandate.
On Friday, July 3, Lee issued an executive order granting mayors of the 89 counties with state health departments the authority to issue a mandate for citizens to wear masks or face coverings in public. On Monday, July 6, Anderson signed an order requiring masks in Williamson County through Monday, Aug. 3, the expiration date of the governor’s order.
“Many people wrote in and expressed their opinions one way or the other, and now we have seen our numbers kind of flatten out,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t totally due to the masks, but I think people are getting more aware of their surroundings and what they’re doing. We all make choices. We all have opportunities to help our neighbors.”
Anderson said he consulted the city mayors and superintendents of Williamson County Schools and the Franklin Special School District in the decision, acknowledging that the mandate made him friends and enemies in the community. He said he expects the governor to address the expiration of his executive order within the next few days.
“Again, we’ll reach out to our different affiliates. We’ll look at those numbers really hard,” he said. “Personally, I think that the masks have made a significant difference in holding those numbers steady and getting them down.”
He mentioned that Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden has, like himself, made friends and enemies with the district’s decision to reopen schools virtually for grades three and above for the first two weeks, but Anderson shared that this decision was “not done in a vacuum” and encouraged Golden to continue to listen to medical authorities and look at the numbers.
“None of these things we like to do,” Anderson said. “We’ve been trying to figure out what’s right and what to do and how to handle it, just like everyone else has across the nation, and we learn every single day.”
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