Declaration of Public Health Emergency by Williamson County Mayor
On July 3, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 to grant county mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local requirements that citizens wear face coverings in public places in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases, which have significantly risen in recent weeks. Governor Lee encouraged every Tennessean across the state to use a face covering or mask, to socially distance and wash hands frequently. On August 3, the Governor issued Executive Order 55, which extends the authority granted to counties through August 29, 2020.
Keeping in mind that Williamson County and its residents are known for caring for one another and setting good examples, especially when it comes to the health and safety of our loved ones and our neighbors, the attached county-wide Executive Order, granted by the authority of the Governor of the State of Tennessee, is hereby enacted requiring citizens to wear masks or face coverings when in public places and social distancing is not possible, with an effective date of 11:59 p.m. on August 3, 2020 in Williamson County. Citizens should carefully read the order, as there are a number of exceptions based upon specific health or safety issues, as well as situations where individuals can safely distance and do not need to wear face coverings for their safety. This order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on August 29, 2020.
July 9 update- Addendum
As implementation began, it became clear that clarification and/or correction of two of the exceptions is needed and the Mayor has issued an addendum to the declaration for that purpose.
- The addendum clarifies that the exception for children applies to children 12 and under, rather than children under 12.
- The addendum clarifies that the exception for houses of worship also applies to religious ceremonies (including such ceremonies as weddings and funerals) and activities attendant thereto that occur at locations other than churches.
Brentwood Supports Williamson County Emergency Order Requiring Masks to Be Worn in Public
“We are now facing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases over a short period of time,” said Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little. “In order to prevent the overrunning of our medical infrastructure it is vital that we all use every way possible to lower the daily new case numbers as rapidly as possible. For this reason, we are in support of Mayor Rogers Anderson’s order. This is imperative as we plan to reopen schools, businesses and enjoy other activities as we have in the past. Please protect your family and others,” Mayor Little added.
The emergency proclamation applies throughout Williamson County, including within its six cities and provides the following exemptions from wearing a mask:
- Within one’s residence or automobile, unless transporting others for hire;
- By a child twelve (12) years of age or younger;
- By someone who has trouble breathing due to an underlying health condition or another bona fide medical or health-related reason for not wearing a face covering;
- By someone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance;
- While eating or drinking;
- While outdoors, unless the person cannot substantially maintain appropriate social distancing from others outside of the person’s household;
- While working under conditions where appropriate social distancing from others outside of the person’s household is substantially maintained;
- 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;
- In situations in which wearing a face covering poses a safety or security risk;
- While in a house of worship unless required by that house of worship, but wearing a face covering in such locations is strongly encouraged; or
- While in a voting site for the purpose of voting or administering an election, but wearing a face covering in such locations is strongly encouraged.
Health experts at the local, state and national levels have made it clear the Coronavirus is more likely to spread through close contact indoors, particularly with large gatherings in which people don’t practice social distancing or wear a mask or face covering.
- CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
- Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.
- Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The Tennessee Pledge indicates that staff in restaurants, office buildings, construction sites and other businesses should wear cloth face coverings (not N-95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) and other personal protection items when social distancing is not possible.
How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering
Cloth face coverings should:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?
Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.
How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?
A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.
How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?
Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.
Sew and No Sew Instructions
Visit the CDC website for instructions on how to sew cloth face coverings.