In a continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson announced Monday he extended the county’s mask mandate that originally took effect on July 8.
Anderson said county officials worked over the weekend, gathering all six city mayors together on a conference call.
“It’s important when orders are issued that everybody’s on the same page and concurrent with that thinking,” he said. “We’ve talked to the medical community, looked at the latest data and the determination was to extend that mandate that ends tonight at midnight. We feel like it’s making a difference.”
Though eschewing a statewide mask mandate, Governor Bill Lee gave Tennessee mayors the authority to issue countywide mandates on July 3. He updated that guidance July 28, allowing mayors to extend their orders through Aug. 29.
As of Aug. 3, the state’s department of health reported 110,636 total cases in Tennessee, from which 70,878 people have recovered and 1,092 people have died. The state’s highest number of recorded cases in a single day was 3,314 on July 13.
In Williamson County, 3,269 total cases have been reported, including 39 new cases on Monday, and 1,287 are active cases while 1,960 have recovered. The county has reported 22 deaths.
Despite overall numbers trending downward from that peak, high numbers are still being recorded. On Friday, July 31, 3,088 people in the state tested positive.
While nearly all Tennessee counties are above the threshold for what is considered an acceptable transmission rate (approximately 10 cases per day), Williamson County has been averaging about 51 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past two weeks.
At Williamson Medical Center, numbers have flattened from an initial uptick in the first six weeks of the pandemic.
In a statement, hospital leaders say their COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped after the initial stay-at-home order went into effect.
“However, as the economy began reopening, those numbers climbed again steadily. From mid-June to mid-July, WMC numbers spiked. Since Mayor Anderson implemented the mask mandate, WMC has seen a decrease and positive cases have thankfully flattened,” the statement reads.
Anderson acknowledged that no citations have been issued as a result of the mandate, though a few letters have been sent to businesses that had been reportedly noncompliant.
“Most everybody has been in compliance with it,” he said. “Even though you may not totally agree with it, it’s for the public health of our community.”
The order applies to those in “publicly-accessible areas of commercial business establishments, in public outdoor areas where social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained and within the publicly accessible areas of business offices where there is direct interaction with the public and social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.”
Cases in which the order does not apply include:
• Those ages 12 and under
• People with underlying health conditions that prevent them from safely wearing a mask
• People who are incapacitated and/or cannot safely remove a mask
• People eating or drinking
• People in a private residence
• People at a religious ceremony or service
• People who are outdoors, unless 6 feet of separation cannot be maintained
• People inside a car
• Employees of a government facility
• People working at a facility where 6 feet of separation is able to be maintained
• In cases of strenuous exercise where 6 feet of separation is possible
• People at a voting site
• People for whom wearing a face mask would pose a safety hazard
For more information on COVID-19 data, visit tn.gov.
See Anderson’s complete statement below.