Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order on Friday afternoon extending the authority of local governments to require residents to wear masks.
At a virtual event hosted by Williamson Inc. on Friday morning, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said he was already gathering input from city mayors and other local officials to make a decision about extending the county’s mask mandate.
“We’ll reach out to our different affiliates, we’ll look at those numbers real hard,” Anderson said on Friday morning, before Lee signed his latest order. “I personally think that the masks have made a significant difference in holding those numbers steady and getting them down.”
Anderson didn’t clearly indicate what he would do. He said he expected to make a decision before the county’s current mask mandate expires on Monday night.
Lee gave most counties the ability issue mask requirements to combat the spread of the new coronavirus on July 3. With support from city mayors, Anderson issued a mask mandate for Williamson County that took effect on July 7.
Metropolitan counties, such as Nashville, already had the authority to require masks. Nashville required people to wear masks in public in June.
On July 29, there were 1,338 active cases, down from a peak of more than 1,500 earlier this month. However, the current number of active cases is about 80% higher than early July when Anderson initially issued a mask mandate.
Before deciding to issue a mask requirement earlier this month, Anderson said he spent several days gathering input from city leaders, mayors of other counties, lawyers and medical professionals. He indicated that he plans to do the same before making a decision about an extension.
“None of these things we like to do,” he said. “Since March 5 … we’ve been trying to figure out what’s right and what to do and how to handle it, just like everyone else is across the nation. We learn every single day.”