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Man files lawsuit against Sumner County mayor over mask mandate

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Posted at 6:52 AM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 22:38:33-04

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — One man is refusing to comply with Sumner County's mask mandate and is now taking the mayor to court.

Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt recently extended the order requiring all residents to wear a face mask while in public until midnight on August 3.

Justin Olsen filed a lawsuit after he was told to wear a mask at the Sumner County administration building. Olsen, a Sumner County resident, shared a copy of the nine-page lawsuit he filed Monday. In it, he claims two deputies stopped him at the administration building because he wasn't wearing a mask.

Olsen claims he is exempt from this mandate and the deputies said he’d have to have a health screening, which Olsen also refused to do.

In the lawsuit, Olsen said this was a violation of his religious liberties and privacy, adding that Sumner Country Mayor Anthony Holt is not a health expert and isn’t qualified to issue a mask mandate.

Olsen wants a restraining order to be issued against Holt to prevent any more mandates. He argues, the current rule isn't being enforced, “making the mandate unnecessary and causing nothing but fear and division.”

Sumner Co. Mayor Anthony Holt released the following statement in response to the suit:

"It is disappointing that a citizen resorted to filing this lawsuit. We disagree with the assertions raised by the Plaintiff.

As Sumner County Mayor, my decision was made to protect the health and welfare of the people living in Sumner County and our entire region. The decision was based on comprehensive and overwhelming medical advice from our healthcare professionals. Wearing masks protects people in close contact and slows the rate of infection of this deadly virus.

It is vitally important that we all work together in a responsible way to protect and restart our fragile economy. It is very unfortunate that Sumner County taxpayers are forced to spend valuable time and financial resources to address this baseless claim."