Wilson Co. mayor 'strongly encourage[s]' masks to be worn in public due to spread of COVID-19

Mayor Hutto declares state of emergency
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Posted at 12:13 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 16:01:41-04

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto "strongly encouraged" residents to wear masks when out in public.

On Wednesday, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto declared a state of emergency. The press released said everyone would be "required" to wear masks when in public.

"We are requiring people to wear masks when out in public. We ask all our businesses to take this very seriously to keep their customers and staff safe by reconsidering the number of people in the business area and by requiring masks in stores and businesses." Mayor Hutto said.

However, Mayor Hutto released a second statement later in the day retracting the statement saying, "We have received many calls about the word 'required' in our press release earlier today. We do not have the authority to require anybody to wear a mask nor will anybody be arrested for not wearing a mask."

The mayor's office said the decision to issue the state of emergency was due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the area. On June 1, the 14-day average daily number of new cases was 6.9. By Wednesday, that number had increased to 11.4 and continued to rise for seven days in a row, the mayor's office said.

Residents can go to the Wilson County Health Department on E. Baddour Parkway in Lebanon if they are need of a mask.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said the mayor required everyone to wear masks while in public. It was changed to reflect the mayor's correction.