Last week, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles penned a letter to Gov. Bill Lee requesting that the state “cease all remaining restrictions created by [Lee’s] executive orders as relating to Maury County.”
In the letter, Ogles argued that the state-imposed restrictions put “a damper on [Maury County’s] economic recovery,” and that given that the county has only seen 102 cases of COVID-19 with no fatalities, Maury County had “done its part to ‘flatten the curve.’”
Among the remaining restrictions imposed across the state include bars and nightclubs being required to "only serve customers seated at tables," and gatherings being restricted to 50 people or less, with exceptions being made if proper social distancing can still be achieved.
On Thursday during a press conference at the State Capitol, Lee publicly responded to Ogles’ request when asked whether he supported lifting restrictions on specific counties were they to reach certain benchmarks.
“I’ve gotten a lot of input over the last month since our first case of COVID-19; that’s been helpful input from local leaders about what’s happening on the ground in their communities,” Lee said. “That’s true of Maury County or any other county in this state.”
While falling short of definitively saying whether or not he would consider lifting restrictions on specific counties, Lee did say that his office would approach lifting restrictions on counties through two separate categories: the six counties that have their own health departments, and the remaining 89 counties with health departments run by the state.
“I’ve had a belief that the best way to approach this is to engage in dialogue with local leaders about what’s best for our state, but we have made the decision to approach this from the standpoint of 89 counties that have health departments that fall under the authority of the state, and the remaining six counties that have their own operated [health] departments,” Lee said.
“We have worked with [the remaining six counties] together to make decisions that are best for their communities - that’s the approach that we’ll take going forward.”