Rutherford Co. Mayor issues mask mandate, saying some aren't taking the pandemic seriously enough

Bill Ketron
Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 18:22:14-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron issued a mask mandate, which is set to begin Wednesday.

Initially, Mayor Ketron announced he would not be issuing a requirement, but rather encouraged residents to wear masks when social distancing is not an option.

“We are still asking the community to be #RutherfordResponsible,” said Ketron, “but rather than strongly encouraging wearing a mask, we are requiring it.”

In a press release, the mayor said his decision to issue to mandate was due to a lack of people simply not wearing masks.

“We received a lot of support from our local businesses including some of our big box stores,” he said, “but the reality is, some of our citizens and visitors just are not taking this health event seriously enough.”

On July 6, Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order 54, giving county mayors the authority to issue mask requirements. That order expires on August 3.

Town of Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed said in a press release, she supports Ketron’s decision.

“The Mayors’ Caucus has been in constant contact about this ongoing health situation and collectively, we have supported the decisions that have been made thus far. Though difficult to make, we hope this decision will help protect our communities and move us in the right direction.”

Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland also agreed.

“The majority of local health care officials ask the community to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible. It is important for us to do all that we can to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid another shutdown. So, please cover the nose and mouth whenever you cannot socially distance.”

City of La Vergne Mayor Jason Cole echoed McFarland’s added to the release saying, "The health and welfare of our citizens is of the upmost concern for us during this pandemic. Masks are an important way to stop the spread and keep us all safe.”

“When staying six feet apart is not possible, wearing a mask combined with other protective measures as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can potentially get us back to a state of normalcy in our communities more quickly,” said City of Eagleville Mayor Chad Leeman.

As part of the #RutherfordResponsible campaign, community members including dignitaries, business owners, healthcare professionals, and Rutherford County residents, submitted photos wearing masks and noting for whom they wear the masks.