MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron announced Monday afternoon that he will be lifting the mask mandate early, eight days before the order was set to expire.
The face-covering order, which was set to expire Sept. 30, will be lifted Tuesday, September 22 at 5 p.m.
In a letter to residents, Ketron says the order successfully lowered the county's COVID-19 case count.
“Your compliance with the order which went into effect on July 22, had a significant impact on our numbers going down. This was hard to ignore. We are encouraged by the data trends and want to continue down that path! This does not discount the fact that this virus here and not going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, I am asking that as a community, we revert once more to being #RutherfordResponsible.”
Even though masks will not be required in the county, Mayor Ketron encouraged everyone to continue to wear them and practice social distancing guidelines.
"Multiple opinions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have cited that wearing masks works, though we acknowledge that it could be the combination of wearing masks, washing hands, and other recommended health practices (i.e. social distancing) and not just one specific protective measure. Being #RutherfordResponsible means incorporating all these health practices into your daily routine to continue to effectively slow the spread of the virus in our community," Ketron said in the letter.
Ketron encouraged community members to be respectful of one another as people make their individual decisions about the controversial topic of wearing a mask.
“This does not mean that this difference among citizens should cause discord in the community… Rutherford County is a caring and compassionate community. Do not let this pandemic change that, or you," he said.