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Rutherford Co. Mayor forgoes order, strongly encourages people to wear face masks

Bill Ketron
Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 06, 2020

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron asked residents to be #RutherfordResponsible and wear a face mask while in public.

“I believe in our citizens. I am confident that we can do this without forcing their hand,” said Mayor Ketron.

Governor Bill Lee gave county mayors the authority to issue local mask requirements by signing an executive order. Mayor Ketron said the decision of whether to mandate or not was a tough one.

He didn't issue an order, but rather strongly encouraged residents to wear masks, and asked businesses, citizens, and visitors are strongly encouraged to be #RutherfordResponsible.

Being “Rutherford Responsible” means wearing a mask in public when social distancing is impractical, along with other protective measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, county officials said in a press release.

“We are asking the businesses in our communities to adopt this initiative by posting ‘RutherfordResponsible’ signage in their windows or other prominent places in their establishments. This will identify that their business requires masks for employees and patrons.” said Ketron. “Much like the orders in other counties, we realize that there will be exceptions such as eating and drinking and outdoor activities that allow for proper social distancing.”

Mayor Ketron has the support of the Rutherford County Mayors’ Caucus.

“We know our citizens want to get back to a state of normalcy as soon as possible, but we cannot accomplish that without their assistance with taking personal responsibility for their health,” said City of La Vergne Mayor Jason Cole.

Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed said, “We have faith that if enough of our businesses join together in this effort, our citizens will follow suit.” Reed also reminds citizens that if they ever feel uncomfortable at an establishment, the customer has the right to not do business with them.

City of Eagleville Mayor Chad Leeman said, “Likewise, businesses have the ability to refuse service to someone who does not adhere to mask requirements for their property.”

Aside from the overall health impact, our local economy is another consideration. City of Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland said, “We want to do our best not to have another shutdown. That is why it is so important that citizens and businesses take these protective measures so seriously. Many small businesses have indicated that they will not survive another shutdown.”

“We have heard from many of our citizens who are in favor of a mandate, and while we absolutely respect that, we want to give our communities another chance to do the right thing on their own,” said Ketron. “So please do your part and be #RutherfordResponsible.”