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Will county mayors in Middle Tennessee use their new authority to order masks worn in public?

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Gov. Bill Lee
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  County mayors across Tennessee now have the power to require residents to wear masks in public as the health crisis worsens.

Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 on Friday granting mayors that authority. The governor announced the change on Twitter over the weekend saying local governments were asking him to make the option available.

Nashville, Knoxville and Metro Memphis have already issued mandatory mask orders through their county health departments.

WSMV reported over the weekend that Williamson County was expected to announce a mask order on Monday.

Reactions to the governor’s new order were mixed on his Twitter page. Responses ranged from those complaining he should make the mask order compulsory across Tennessee, to those who panned the move and questioned the effectiveness of masks in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The governor’s order comes as infection rates have soared statewide. Tennessee has reported 1200 or more new cases of the virus every day for the past week.

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