Wilson County mayor issues mask mandate

Handmade mask.jpg
Posted at 2:19 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 16:43:59-04

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto issued an executive order requiring people to wear face masks while in public.

Read the order here.

"It is imperative that all Wilson County citizens work together to slow the spread of COVID-19," said Hutto.

Governor Lee gave county mayors the authority to issue such orders when he signed Executive Order 54, which allowed each county leader to issue local requirements as they see fit.

On July 8, the county encouraged residents to wear masks but said a mandate would not be issued. Yet in Friday's press release, Hutto said he made the decision after Wilson County was named as a "hotspot" by Dr. Lisa Piercey, State Health Department Commissioner, during Gov. Lee's press conference on June 23.

The order goes into effect on July 19 and will remain in place until Aug. 3.

In a press release, Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said the department will not enforce the order. Instead, deputies will "carry on with the procedures we have now been doing for weeks; and that is continuing to promote compliance through communication and education."

“My primary concern during the spread of the virus is the safety and welfare of every Wilson County citizen,” stated Sheriff Bryan in the release. “There are many people that are at a high risk because of underlying health issues and we encourage each of you to make the right choice; as I have also encouraged all deputies and staff to do the same. We join law enforcement agencies across the state through promoting safer and healthier communities in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19. We will not be enforcing written citations or fines but we will continue to educate and communicate the necessary measures to slow the spread of the virus.”

Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick announced a similar message, saying officers would not be issuing citations.

"As an alternative to issuing a citation to those not in compliance with the Wilson County mask mandate, officers will continue to educate and provide masks to community members, said Chief Hambrick. "I want to see full compliance with Mayor Hutto’s order so we can contain the virus as soon as possible. From the onset of this pandemic, we have focused on educating our community about the importance of wearing a mask and taking personal safety precautions. We have obtained substantial compliance without charging business owners or community members. This model will continue, and we will issue face maks to those in need rather than issuing a citation.”