Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles asked Gov. Bill Lee to lift the COVID-19 restrictions in the county because they “are doing more harm than good.”
“Simply put, we believe that continued social distancing mandates are serving as a damper on our economic recovery, slowing down what should by all measures be a robust return to normal. In short, their continued presence, with all due respect, are doing more harm than good.
“I know you agree that Maury County has done its part to “flatten the curve”. Our numbers have born that out. To date, we have had only 102 cases in Maury County, a community of about 100,000 — with no fatalities. Furthermore, we have a regional hospital that serves a multi-county region comprising of nine counties — and yet we have had very few cases admitted to our hospital. So, very clearly, the facts support that we have reached a new stage in this pandemic, one where the people can make their own decisions as to how best to defend against the resurgence of this illness. The one-size-fits-all approach that might have been necessary in the early stages should give-way to local, if not individual control.”
Ogles goes on and contrasts Maury County with Nashville and Mayor John Cooper’s anti-social distancing protest efforts.
“I am sure you also agree that the optics of the approach to the shutdown and social distancing have not always seemed logical to the average citizen. For example, Mayor Cooper of Nashville recently encouraged a large-scale protest in Nashville, a city that has seen its economy destroyed by the shutdown. No citizen watching the video footage of this event would believe that Nashville was concerned about social distancing in those moments. Further, there was silence, at least from the media, in terms of any response from the State of Tennessee as to the possible complications from permitting such mass protests and the closeness of contact that necessarily comes with such an event. So, if a protest of thousands of persons is permitted in an area considered a Tennessee hot-spot for COVID-19, why cannot Maury County, with a tiny fraction of the numbers seen in Davidson County, be released to govern itself? For me, it is really about who is trusted to deal with this: The people of a community or a centralized government. In our case, I have no choice but to side with the former, the people of Maury County.”
Cooper has denied that he is a hypocrite for ignoring his social distancing guidelines in the protests last weekend, The Tenneesee Star reported.
During the second of the four phases, Cooper seemed to forget his own words about social distancing and attended a rally at Legislative Plaza that honored George Floyd.
In an email, Cooper spokesman Chris Song told The Star that “Cooper has consistently supported the right of all Nashvillians to safely engage in public demonstrations while observing public health protocols.”
Mayor Ogles is not the first Republican to ask Lee to life all his restrictions. GOP officials from eight Tennessee counties sent him a letter to that effect a month ago, The Star reported.
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