On April 27, 2021 Governor Bill Lee held a press conference where he stated that mask mandates and restrictions will be lifted for the state of Tennessee. Governor Bill Lee is trying to move the state into a new era, as he declares COVID-19 is no longer a statewide public health emergency for Tennessee.
Lee’s latest executive order gets rid of local authority for counties operating under the state health department to make their own mask mandates.
“It’s time for government to get out of the business of public health interventions,” Lee said.
Lee considers the COVID-19 cases manageable, and with vaccines available to all of age residents, he wants to see mask mandates and business restrictions gone by Memorial Day. Executive Order 80 does not allow the 89 counties under the state health department to make their own mask mandates. As for the six other counties, Lee has been appealing directly to those county leaders.
“Three of these counties have mask mandates and some level of business restrictions,” Lee said.
“Each of these counties are moving in the right direction and I’ve spoken with each one of these counties over the last day.”
Lee hopes to be rid of all restrictions and mask mandates by memorial day.
When asked how they felt about having the restrictions lifted Lenoir city senior Ashley Smith had this to say, ¨I’m glad that we are going to get back to something close to normal this past year has been very hard for everyone and to be at a place where we can be without masks is exciting.¨
With the restrictions being lifted one question is on many Tennesseans’ minds, will cases rise again?