HAMBLEN COUNTY, Tenn. — Hamblen County leaders issued a mask mandate for visitors and residents, requiring people to wear masks or face coverings in public. The order takes effect Aug. 4 at 12:01 a.m. and will last through Aug. 29, unless the mandate is modified.
The authority to issue mask mandates was given to local leaders by Executive Order 54, signed by Governor Bill Lee. It allowed counties to decide whether to mandate masks and was extended to Aug. 29 on Friday.
"Our coronavirus task force has been preaching and teaching the use of a mask for several weeks, and we believe it works," Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain said in a press release. "More people are wearing them and we want to intensify the message with the order."
The mayor also said that the Coronavirus Task Force will continue monitoring the health care systems and prevention campaigns throughout the county. He asked people to follow CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, stay home when they're feeling sick and to wear masks.
"We need to do everything we can to try to open our public schools in September while keeping students, teachers and staff safe," Brittain said in a press release. "Second, we need to help our senior adults with health conditions feel confident they can go out in public and feel safe because everyone is protecting each other by wearing their masks."
He also urged people to support healthcare workers as they continue to treat people who have the virus.
People will not need to wear masks when driving a car or at home, and children under 12 years old also will not need to wear masks. Anyone with an underlying health condition is also exempt from the order, according to officials.
People will also not be required to wear masks while in a voting site to vote or administer an election. However, officials also said they encouraged wearing masks while voting, even if they're not required. They also encouraged wearing masks in places of worship, although they're not required.
Officials also said people will not need to wear masks while outdoors unless they cannot maintain appropriate social distancing.