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Tennessee officials given authority to implement mask requirements after Lee signs order

The Tennessean • Jul 3, 2020 at 10:01 PM

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Lee granted authority Friday to mayors in 89 counties in Tennessee to issue their own face mask mandates as COVID-19 cases rise statewide. The move follows a record day-over-day increase after the state health department reported 1,822 new cases.

Six counties with locally run health departments — Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison and Shelby — already have authority to issue mask mandates as needed.

“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 news release. “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.”

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