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Knoxville no longer requiring masks inside city buildings to follow new state laws

The city said it is following new state laws banning mask requirements in government buildings.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The city of Knoxville is no longer requiring people to mask up when entering city buildings, but is still recommending that people wear them. 

Mayor Indya Kincannon signed an updated executive order for the city on Monday a day before federal court judges in Louisiana and Kentucky blocked federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates for healthcare workers and federally funded contractors. 

Mayor Kincannon said she updated the executive order to ensure the city is following new state laws that prevent local or state government offices from requiring masks or vaccines in the workplace. 

"While no longer required in City of Knoxville facilities, masks are still strongly encouraged especially for unvaccinated people and for everyone who may be in close quarters," the city said.

The mask mandate in Knoxville city buildings has been in place in some form since June 29, 2020. In May 2021, the mayor relaxed masking for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 -- but in August reinstituted the mandate for all employees and visitors regardless of vaccination status in response to the summer surge.