Weakley County (August 10) – All Weakley County citizens, residents, and visitors are required to wear a mask or face covering in public places, effective Tuesday, August 11. The requirement came as the number of active cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in Weakley County as well as the region. With the approaching reopening of Weakley County Schools and the start of the fall semester of UT Martin, the requirement for individuals to wear a face covering is a necessary safety measure for the protection of all Weakley County citizens, a press release issued by Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum stated.
On July 3, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 granting county mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local requirements for citizens to wear face coverings over a person’s nose and mouth in public places in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases, which have significantly risen in recent days and weeks. While not implementing any mass or blanket face-covering requirements, Lee encourages every Tennessean to use a face covering or mask, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently.
The mask-requirement decision comes after consultation with elected and appointed officials, healthcare professionals, the Tennessee Department of Health, Governor Lee and members of his administration and study of data as local active cases continue to climb. The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention [CDC] confirms that wearing a mask or face covering should be required in most circumstances at this time. With all of this information and the public welfare at top of mind, necessary actions must be taken as Weakley County’s active case count continues to trend daily in the wrong direction, the press release noted.
As an elected official, the Weakley County Mayor swore an oath to protect the public welfare.
“In utilizing every resource to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Weakley Countians will take an active role in halting the current spike in cases that jeopardizes our businesses, schools, government and court operations, and way of life; this simple measure can help citizens protect themselves and each other during these challenging and uncertain times,” Bynum said.
Bynum issued an Executive Order of Weakley County, granted by the authority of the Governor of the State of Tennessee, hereby enacted and requiring citizens in Weakley County, Tennessee, to wear masks or face coverings when in public places and where social distancing is not possible, with an effective date of 12:01 a.m. August 11, 2020.
There are several exceptions for mask wearing under this Order, which include the following:
* Within a residence or automobile, unless transporting others for hire;
* Any child 12 years or younger;
* Any person who has trouble breathing due to an underlying health condition or another bona fide medical- or health-related reason for not wearing a face covering;
* Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;
* While eating or drinking, or while seated in a restaurant;
* While outdoors, unless the person cannot substantially maintain appropriate six-foot social distancing from others outside of the person’s household;
* In situations in which wearing a face covering poses a safety or security risk;
* While in houses of worship unless required by that house of worship, but wearing a face covering in such a location is strongly encouraged and
* While in a voting site for the purpose of voting or administering an election, but wearing a face covering in such locations is strongly encouraged.
The EO applies to public places and publicly-accessible areas of commercial business establishments and business offices where there is direct interaction with the public and social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained. A commercial business establishment means any establishment that sells goods and services, or a combination thereof, including, but not limited to grocery stores, restaurants, lobbies and public spaces in hotels and other lodging, pharmacies, banks, bars, salons, retail stores, medical and dental offices and entertainment and sports venues.
Bynum said any source of face covering worn properly is adequate as a mask is designed to protect the spread to others.
The order expires at 11:59 p.m. August 29, 2020.
For more information, visit weakleycountytn.gov.