Posted July 7th, 2020.
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by: Erica Francis
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On July 3, Governor Bill Lee’s newest Executive Order granted mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue mask mandates.
Six counties, including Davidson, have locally-operated health departments which have authority to issue mask requirements, if they feel it’s necessary.
“I think you’re getting this patchwork of mandates,” said Dr. Aaron Milstone, a Pulmonologist at Williamson Medical Center. “Some counties are requiring or mandating masks, others are not and unfortunately, as Tennesseans, we cross borders all the time.”
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, several county mayors are issuing mask mandates, while others are not.
Montgomery, Williamson, Sumner and Davidson are among the counties that have issued mask mandates for those who are out in public, but the punishments are violating are not the same.
A violation in Williamson will get you a Class A misdemeanor, in Davidson, it’s a Class C.
“If someone is not wearing the mask, give them a warning, give them education, then, if they don’t adhere to the mandate you do something more,” Milstone said.
Moreover, Judge Kevin Sharp, the managing partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Nashville office, said the mandates are legitimate. He said federal, state and local government have the police power to protect citizens’ health and safety. Think of it as preventing second hand smoke exposure at a restaurant or requiring seat belts. Both are rules society is expected to follow.
”Will a court or judge, who has to be elected in that community, now enforce that? That’s the question, judge Sharp said. “If it’s a legit exercise of the government power it should be enforced, but will they? Who knows, that’s politics.”
News 2 is told Wilson County’s mayor will be pulling the task-force together, making a decision on a possible mask mandate Wednesday.
In Robertson County, masks are now mandatory in public buildings starting at July 8 at 11:59 p.m.
“I think the success of the mask comes when you look at countries who have no more COVID-19, those are countries where everyone is wearing the mask,” Milstone said.