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County mask mandate lifted
Jimmy Haley.jpg

Warren County’s mask mandate and the state’s restrictions on gathering sizes were both lifted Thursday.

Said County Executive Jimmy Haley, “Beginning Oct. 1, the countywide facemask mandate will be lifted, although our public school system requirements and those enacted by local businesses will remain in place until further notice.”

Haley’s announcement came after Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order No. 63. The order keeps Tennessee’s state of emergency in place, mainly as a mechanism to continue receiving federal funding, but it lifted any restrictions on gathering sizes beginning Oct. 1.

The Governor’s Office says Order No. 63 still urges “social distancing from those outside of your household, while eliminating caps on gathering size that have proven overly complex and arbitrary because they do not adequately account for critical considerations such as venue capacity and physical characteristics, type of activity involved, and location (indoors vs. outdoors), and thus undermine the more important focus of social distancing.”

Gov. Lee has never issued a statewide mask mandate, instead passing that responsibility to officials in each county.

Haley and the Warren County COVID Command Team issued a countywide facemask mandate Aug. 13 that required facemasks to be worn “for all residents and visitors in settings where close proximity to others is anticipated and especially where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

In issuing Executive Order No. 63, Gov. Lee emphasized the coronavirus threat has not disappeared.

“COVID-19 is still a serious problem and I encourage every Tennessean to continue social distancing and doing their part to make wise choices and help mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Lee.

According to information released Wednesday by the state Department of Health, there have been 196,139 confirmed COVID cases in Tennessee with 2,454 deaths. That makes the death rate about 1.2%.

In Warren County, the state says there have been 1,085 confirmed cases and 7 deaths. Only 88 of those cases are still active.