Gov. Bill Lee announced a new “TN Strong Mask Movement” Thursday with the goal of making face masks more “fun.”
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Economic Recovery Group developed the new program along with more than 30 “flagship brands” across the state, including Amazon, Bridgestone, Bristol Motor Speedway, Graceland, Jack Daniel’s, several professional sports teams and universities, and many others.
Each business will distribute branded cloth face coverings at little to no cost “across their own channels or with the help of the State of Tennessee,” said Lee’s office. The 30 organizations plan to produce a combined total of 300,000 masks, a projected value of more than $3 million.
Mark Ezell, director of the Economic Recovery Group, said the “more we encourage masks and make them fun, the better we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
“Tennesseans have stepped up to do their part and keep their neighbors safe throughout this health crisis,” he said. “These businesses are the heart and soul of Tennessee, and we’re grateful to them for helping our citizens stay healthy and have a little fun sporting their favorite brands while they’re at it.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new guidance for public events and gatherings, strongly encouraging wearing masks to lower the risk of exposure and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Lee’s office didn’t provide any specifics on where residents can pick up free masks, though they can be purchased online in packs of five for $20, or bulk packs of 500 for $1,250.
“We are so appreciative of Gov. Lee and Commissioner Ezell to include the Nashville Predators in promoting the use of masks so SMASHVILLE can continue to open in the safest possible manner,” Nashville Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said in a statement.
“By creating SMASHVILLE Strong and Predator-themed masks, we can all show our passion for the Preds while reinforcing the use of face coverings as we work to re-launch the economy and local businesses,” he added.
The Tennessee Titans and the Memphis Grizzlies are also participating in the new “mask movement.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine launched a similar initiative in April when he asked Ohioans to participate in a statewide “spirit week.”
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