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Jimmy Haley

Gov. Bill Lee has allowed his recommendation to wear facemasks to expire and Warren County Executive Jimmy Haley is following suit.

All local and state emergency Executive Orders expired on Thursday, April 29, which means residents in 89 of the state’s 95 counties no longer face any type of COVID-related guidelines.

“I wish to thank the entire community for its support and perseverance while mitigating and containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus over the last year,” said Haley. “We can clearly see the results of our efforts.”

The six largest counties in the Tennessee have their own health departments and set their own guidelines independent from the rest of the state. Gov. Lee urged those communities to remove any restrictions such as mask requirements by Memorial Day.

A mask mandate will remain in effect at Warren County Schools. Director of Schools Grant Swallows said Thursday the School Board put the facemask requirement in place and it would be up to the School Board to lift it.

Haley encouraged local residents to get vaccinated, saying, “It is our quickest way to rebound as a nation.”

So far, Tennesseans have been more hesitant than the rest of the nation to get vaccinated. The state ranks in the bottom three for its percentage of adults with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose at 42.8%. 

The national rate is 53.9%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In allowing his Executive Orders to expire, Gov. Lee said the state’s focus should be on helping the economy to recover and for people to make their own personal decisions.

Said Gov. Lee, “These guidelines will today be officially retired in order to send a clear message: that Tennesseans now know how to manage their own day-to-day operations without a government playbook, even if it was a voluntary one.”