Williamson County has renewed the latest mask mandate after Gov. Bill Lee issued a new executive order.
That order extended the power granted to local authorities to order the mask mandate.
On Oct. 24, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson was joined by other local officials and health professionals in a press conference where he reinstated the mandate through Oct. 30, adding that he expected to renew and extend the mandate through the remainder of 2020 following actions by Gov. Bill Lee that would grant him the authority to do so.
That authority was granted on Friday when Gov. Lee issued executive order 67 which in part extends the authority of local governments to implement requirements for facial coverings in an attempt to curb the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday Anderson followed through with his previously announced plans and issued another Declaration of Continued Public Health Emergency which in part extends the county mask mandate through Dec. 29.
As previously reported, the mandate does have some exemptions, such as when someone is eating or drinking, when someone is in a private residence or if they are outdoors and able to maintain a six-foot distance from others.
With election day closing in on Tuesday, voters should be aware that they cannot be required to wear a mask while voting, but election officials do encourage masks in the name of public health.
Just hours after the mask mandate was reinstated last Saturday, a group of more than 100 demonstrators took to the Franklin town square to protest the mandate and what they see as continued government overreach in reaction to the months-long public health crisis.
That demonstration was approved by the City of Franklin, highlighting the challenges in actually enforcing a mandate that is meant to curb the rise in local COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.