Gov. Bill Lee Grants County Mayors Authority to Issue Mask Mandates


Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Friday granting the mayors of 89 counties the authority to issue local face mask mandates.

Six Tennessee counties – Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison, and Shelby – have local health departments, and therefore already have the authority to issue mask requirements as needed, Lee’s office explained.

The Metro Nashville and Davidson County Board of Health voted June 26 in favor of requiring residents to wear masks in public places.

Under ordinary circumstances, the remaining 89 counties don’t have the authority to issue such requirements because they don’t operate local health departments.

Lee’s Executive Order 54 grants the mayors of those counties the authority to issue local mask requirements in the event of a significant rise in COVID-19 cases.

“While our densely populated urban areas continue to have the highest COVID-19 case rates, our local governments expressed a need for greater flexibility in addressing a rise in cases and that includes setting stronger expectations around masks,” Lee said in a statement.

“This targeted approach ensures we protect both lives and livelihoods and safely keep our economy open in Tennessee. We encourage every Tennessean across the state to use a face covering or mask, make sure to socially distance and wash hands frequently,” he added.

The executive order requires counties to include a number of exemptions, such as for children under the age of 12 or people who have trouble breathing because of underlying health conditions.

Lee has strongly encouraged Tennesseans to wear face masks, recently launching a “TN Strong Mask Movement,” but has refrained from issuing a statewide mask mandate.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, issued a statewide mask mandate Thursday. The order requires Texans in counties with more than 20 cases to wear a mask while in confined public places.

– – –

Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







Related posts

7 Thoughts to “Gov. Bill Lee Grants County Mayors Authority to Issue Mask Mandates”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Hard to grant an authority to underlings when one does not have the authority in the first place.

    Way past the time for the legislators to rein in our runaway governor.

  2. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

    He doesn’t have that authority to begin with. I will NOT vote for Bill Lee again, nor do business with Lee Company ever again. I have been a bedside nurse for 22 years and have been coughed one, vomited on, sneezed on, crapped on, peed on, swung at, spit on etc. by the dirtiest of people in our society. Covid 19 if the biggest Hoax I have ever seen in my career! The insanity levels are through the roof, for TV watching fools. I have lost much respect for many of my colleagues in the medical field as well. It has been my experience, and I can say with confidence, that you will get more mileage out of Personal Trainer and good Nutritionist than you ever would out of a Medical Doctor. Your best bet is prevention and staying far far away.

  3. Mike

    Gov. Lee continues on a power grab. He extends the State emergency to the end of August. And now he gives local mayors the authority to mandate face coverings. The state legislstors need to be held accountable for the powers they have given away to the Governor and now local mayors. State legislators you are the law makers in TN. Do your jobs and stop hiding.

    1. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

      Land of the free home of the brave?

  4. Julie

    Our local governments expressed a need for greater flexibility? What exactly did they ask for? People moved to those counties to escape the nonsense we see in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. Mandates in these areas could mean they are voted out of office later.

  5. Kevin

    Truly scary times, when even Republicans, despite all of the facts surrounding the fallacious methodology surrounding Covid-19 case counts, jump all over the opportunity to force something upon the citizenry! Where are the supposed “checks and balances” of our “limited government”? Where are our elected Legislators, who are supposed to construct the laws, for the Governor to enforce? One could make a strong argument that tyranny in Tennessee has been implemented, under a Republican Governor, and super majority Legislature! One can understand why young people are gravitating toward the left! Sad!

    But Governor Lee might have just given Tennessee the biggest Independence Day gift in history! Just watch as a number slightly less than 89 new dictators rise up, implement face mask policies and claim that it’s for the safety of the citizens. Now you know who needs to be voted out of office!

  6. Mary

    I refuse to wear a mask.