The mask mandate in Williamson County that has been in effect since Oct. 24 of last year is set to expire this Saturday at 11:59 p.m., a decision made by county Mayor Rogers Anderson due to "the significant progress in reduction of COVID cases in recent weeks."
Mask mandates in Williamson County
The first county-wide mask mandate was issued on July 7, 2020, after an explosion of COVID-19 cases swept across the county. While that mandate was allowed to expire in early August, a new mandate was put into effect in late October, and as of Friday is still in effect.
Mask mandate expires
In a Friday press release from the Williamson County government, officials cite the "encouraging" decrease in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the county as the reason for allowing the mandate to expire.
Exactly two weeks ago, a total of 207 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the county in a single day. On Friday, Feb. 26, there were 70 new cases reported, a trend that is being mirrored across the globe.
"In light of the significant progress in reduction of COVID cases in recent weeks, and the positive impact on hospital capacity-the Williamson County face covering order will be allowed to expire on Feb. 27 — however, Mayor Anderson continues to encourage Williamson Countians voluntarily to wear face coverings when in public places where social distancing is not achievable," reads the press release.
"The decrease in the number of active COVID-19 cases is encouraging and Mayor Anderson is optimistic that voluntary compliance with public health advice, including wearing a face covering, washing of hands, and social distancing can help us maintain the progress we have made."
"The Mayor continues to believe that wearing a face covering in public places, especially indoors when one must be in close proximity with others, is an important way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and urges Williamson County residents to continue to voluntarily wear a facial covering when in public spaces where physical distancing is not possible."
Despite the mandate expiring, masks will still be required in all county-owned buildings, and businesses still retain the right to require masks to protect their employees and customers if they so choose. The mandate's expiration also does not effect policies adopted by Williamson County Schools, which are at the behest of the Williamson County Board of Education.
Franklin Mayor Ken Moore speaks to expiration of mask mandate
As Mayor of Franklin, my first priority is to protect the wellbeing of our community. I respect County Mayor Anderson’s decision he made regarding the mask/face covering mandate.
However I urge citizens of Franklin to continue to wear masks/face coverings in public and in any area where appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained. As your Mayor and as a medical doctor for more than 50 years, I believe this is the best way to control the spread of COVID-19. While we are all encouraged by the progress we have made in the last few months, I urge all citizens to take safeguards seriously until more vaccines can be distributed.
Governor Lee’s mask campaign is also ongoing, calling on all Tennesseans to fight COVID-19 by wearing masks/facial coverings. Please do your part by wearing a mask/facial covering, keeping appropriate physical distancing, and washing hands frequently. These simple, commonsense actions will help keep you, your family, your friends, and the community safer during these challenging times.