COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Maury County Mayor Andy Ogle announced he would not be issuing a mask mandate for county residents.
"I took an oath to defend our constitution and I intend to do so with every bit of authority and voice that this office grants me. There will be no mask mandate in Maury County," said Mayor Ogle.
He made the announcement during a Facebook Live stream Tuesday and prefaced by explaining the work he did before making the decision.
"As I immersed myself in the data, I realized that we were having the wrong conversation. We were debating masks when we should be discussing liberty, freedom and personal responsibility," said Ogle.
Ogle made a point to address the news that "promotes fear" and social media, of which he was "disheartened by the lack of kindness and callus vitriol that has become the norm" especially in regards to the topic of face masks.
"I urge you to turn off the news, just for a moment. Listen to your doctor...and decide for yourself. Masks are not a perfect solution, but they can help in containing virus particles that you may shed while talking coughing or sneezing." said Ogle.
He encouraged people to social distance and wear a mask if it makes "sense for you and your loved ones.
The Nashville mayor as well as the mayors of Robertson, Williamson and Sumner Counties decided to issue a mask mandate following Governor Bill Lee's executive order giving them the authority to do so.
Several local health officials have explained that masks can reduce the risk of someone contracting or passing COVID-19. “The data is clear. Wearing a mask reduces the chance of contracting COVID-19,” said Metro Board of Health Charman Dr. Alex Jahangir.
Mayor Ogle thanked the governor for entrusting local officials with the decision but said he would not infringe on the liberties of his residents.
"Though used in a different context, Benjamin Franklin's words ring true and are applicable today. "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,'" said Ogle.