Wayne County Executive Announces Mask Mandate

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   Following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Wayne County, County Executive Jim Mangubat announced last week that a mask mandate was being put into place county-wide. The emergency declaration orders that masks or face coverings be worn in all public places of business. The mandate is set to remain in effect until December 29, 2020.

   Read the full declaration below, which includes guidelines and exemptions:

DECLARATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

   WHEREAS, The President of the United States, the Governor of the State of Tennessee, and the Mayors of a number of municipalities in the state of Tennessee have made emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have recognized it as a public health emergency; and

   WHEREAS, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) advise the use of cloth or other types of face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19; and

   WHEREAS, immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities is necessary in order to be able to safely allow governmental operations to continue, businesses to remain open, and schools to remain open for in-person learning; and

   WHEREAS, widespread use of face coverings is believed to be effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the chances of symptomatic and asymptomatic people transmitting the virus to others, especially when used together with other protocols including 6-foot social distancing and hand hygiene; and

   WHEREAS, on July 3, 2020, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54, strongly urging all persons to wear cloth face coverings or other similar coverings in public settings where being in close proximity to others is anticipated, and

   WHEREAS, Governor Lee through Executive Order 54, Executive Order 55, Executive 63 and Executive Order 67 delegated authority to county mayors/executives in the 89 counties that do not have a locally-run health department (including Wayne County) to issue orders requiring the wearing of face coverings within their jurisdictions, subject to certain limitations, for the purpose of slowing the spread of COVID-19; and

   WHEREAS, the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in Wayne County and surrounding counties significantly increased; and

   WHEREAS, Governor Lee has now authorized County Mayors/Executives to renew such orders, and after consultation with the Mayors of the various municipalities of Wayne County and the School Superintendent, the County Executive finds that a mandate until December 29, 2020 is appropriate for the health and safety of Wayne County citizens;

   NOW, THEREFORE, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY DELEGATED BY EXECUTIVE ORDERS 54, 55, 63, AND 67 AND PURSUANT TO GOVERNOR LEE’S RECOGNITION OF A CONTINUING STATE OF EMERGENCY AND MAJOR DIASTER RELATED TO COVID-19, The Wayne County Executive of Tennessee, after consultation with the Mayors of the various municipalities within Wayne County, the School Superintendent, as well as physicians and members of the health care community, issues a Declaration of Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and

   IT IS ORDERED that cloth or other face coverings that cover the nose and mouth of a person to impede the spread of the virus during speaking, coughing, sneezing or other action, shall be required in Wayne County, Tennessee, within all publicly-accessible areas of commercial business establishments; in public outdoor areas where social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained; and within the publicly-accessible areas of 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 or services, or a combination thereof, including but not limited to grocery stores, restaurants, lobbies and public spaces in hotels and other places of lodging, pharmacies, banks, salons, retail stores, medical and dental offices, and entertainment and sports venues.

   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order does not apply to:

-Any person who is age 12 or younger, provided, however, that this exception does not apply to students on school property or at school events who are subject to a face covering mandate imposed by a local board of education.  In those instances, the local board of education’s mandate shall apply;

-Any person who cannot safely wear a face covering because he/she has trouble breathing due to an underlying health condition or another bona fide medical or health-related reason for wearing a face covering;

-Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;

-Persons in a private residence;

-Persons who are outdoors, unless the person cannot substantially maintain appropriate 6-foot social distancing from others outside of the person’s household;

-Persons while eating or drinking;

-Persons in a place of worship or participating in activity attendant to worship (unless a face covering is required by the place of worship or other location where worship activity is occurring), although persons in places of worship or participating in activities attendant to worship are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19;

-Persons within private motor vehicles, unless such vehicle is being used for public transportation or a vehicle for hire;

-Persons working under conditions where appropriate social distancing of a at least six feet from others outside the person’s household is substantially maintained;

-Persons present in government facilities or on government premises, who shall be subject to the rules and regulations of the governmental entity operating the facility or premises. Persons present in the public areas of all Wayne County government facilities will wear cloth or other face coverings, subject to the age and health restrictions outlined herein, and subject to number 11 below.  Other local governmental entities may issue their own directives regarding their facilities;

-Persons in a voting site for the purpose of voting or administering an election; although such persons are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19;

-Persons who are engaging in strenuous exercise and/or physical activity, provided, however, that such persons shall maintain 6-foot social distancing when not wearing a face covering;

-Persons for whom wearing a face covering would pose a safety or security risk.

   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that businesses and facilities subject to this Order shall post signage at public entrances informing patrons of the requirements to wear a mask within the establishment, and shall facilitate compliance with the requirement within the establishment.

   This local order constitutes an order promulgated pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 58, Chapter 2, Part 1. While it is the hope and expectation that Wayne County Citizens will comply with this Order out of a sense of civic duty and respect for their fellow citizens, and attempts at education and communication are the preferred methods of obtaining compliance, state law provides for enforcement of this Order if necessary. Pursuant to Executive Orders 54, 55, 63 and 67, and Tennessee Code Annotated S58-2-120, violation of this Order shall constitute a Class A misdemeanor.

   This Order shall become effective at 11:59 p.m. on November 18, 2020, and will expire at 11:59 p.m. on December 29, 2020 as required by Executive Order 67, unless sooner cancelled or unless extended pursuant to subsequent authorization by the Governor.