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Grainger County Mayor issues mask mandate

Mayor Mike Byrd has signed an Executive order requiring county residents and visitors to wear a mask or facial covering in public.

GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. — Grainger county residents and visitors must now  wear a mask or facial covering in public after an Executive Order by Mayor Mike Byrd.

Mayor Byrd issued the mask mandate Friday, November 20th as an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the county. 

According to a release Byrd stated, After consultation with the County Leaders, Grainger County Health Department, Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Management Services and other local frontline employees, I found there is a consensus that the wearing of facial coverings or mask should be required in certain circumstances and should implement such a requirement as soon as possible. “Byrd said, not everyone is convinced that wearing masks help prevent the spread of the virus, but a combination of mask, social distancing and washing/sanitizing hands frequently are the measures that many health experts recommend.”

The mandate will expire on Dec. 31, 2020 unless modified or withdrawn. 

Grainger County Health Department Director Garnet Southerland said that the county has seen an increase in cases over the last month. The county averaged 8.4 new cases per day from 11/06-11/19. 

The positivity rate from last week places Grainger County in the "red zone" according to the White House Task Force Report. 

Southerland reminds people to wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, wash hands frequently, and clean high-touched surfaces. 

"Wearing a mask is protecting you, your family and your community," Southerland said.

The Grainger County Health Department offers COVID-19 testing daily Monday-Friday free of charge. Call for an appointment. 

The rise in cases has also affected the GS school system. All Grainger County students will attend class virtually from Friday, November 20 through Tuesday, November 24.