Gov. Lee to extend Tennessee local mask executive order
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Gov. Bill Lee intends to extend an executive order that allows the majority of Tennessee’s counties the option to require face coverings in public as the state has seen coronavirus case counts grow.
Gillum Ferguson, Lee’s spokesman, confirmed Monday the executive order will be extended until the end of the year. The order — which applies to 89 out of the state’s 95 counties — was scheduled to expire at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the state’s six larger metro counties with locally governed health departments already had authority to implement their own COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates.
It was learned last week that the White House Coronavirus Task Force had recently recommended that Gov. Lee impose a mandatory, statewide mask mandate in response to a surge in new COVID-19 infections.
Lee has so far resisted all such calls for a statewide mandate, saying that circumstances vary widely among Tennessee's 95 counties.