Sumner County’s mask mandate has been extended for another month in an effort to help further slow the spread of COVID-19 countywide.
The mandate, which has been in place since early July, is now set to expire on Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m.
The decision to extend the order requiring face coverings or masks be worn in public was made following continued discussions with local health officials, according to Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt.
“We must all continue to do our part to slow the spread of this virus,” Holt said in a prepared statement about the decision last week. “Health professionals still recommend that wearing face coverings is one of the most effective ways to protect ourselves and others. My purpose is to take steps necessary to protect the health and well-being of our citizens and to preserve our economy.”
As a result of the extension, Sumner County middle and high school students along with all staff will continue to be required to wear face coverings while at school, according to a statement released by Sumner County Schools on Friday. Elementary students are “strongly encouraged” to wear face coverings while at school.
Within the last two weeks there have been 445 new coronavirus cases in Sumner County, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health. The county is averaging 31.8 new cases per day – slightly less than two fewer daily cases than during the previous 14-day period.
There had been a total of 4,094 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported countywide along with 86 deaths and 3,071 recoveries as of Monday afternoon. Statewide, there had been 151,250 confirmed cases, 1,704 confirmed deaths and 116,864 recoveries.
According to the order, face coverings should not be placed on children younger than two years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.
Other situations where a face covering does not have to be worn include:
*Within one’s residence or automobile, unless transporting other for hire;
*By a child 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;
*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;
*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
Gov. Bill Lee extended an executive order last week giving 89 county mayors across the state the authority to issue their own local face covering requirements. The remaining six counties with locally-run health departments – Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan – already had the authority to issue similar mandates.
Anyone who does not comply with the order in Sumner County could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which can be punishable by a maximum $2,500 fine and up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, according to the Sumner County District Attorney’s Office.