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As Gov. Lee urges ‘get back to business,’ projections show 800 more COVID dead statewide by Sept.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- Gov. Bill Lee has declared that COVID-19 is no longer a statewide public health crisis at a moment when an average 10 Tennesseans are still dying every day of virus related complications.

Lee announced Tuesday that he will remove the option for most local governments to mandate masks in public. He’s also urging the state’s largest cities with mask requirements to remove them by the end of May.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper says he plans to keep the city’s mask requirement in place for now, but Metro will be lifting most business restrictions by May 14.

To date, 12,162 Tennesseans have died of COVID-19 complications. Widely cited projections by the University of Washington suggest another 800 state residents will die by the end of August.

Gov. Lee on Tuesday urged state residents to “focus on economic recovery and get back to business in Tennessee.”

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