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No mask mandate

Mayor Hutto announces masks will not be mandated in Wilson County

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto announced last week that he will not issue a mandate requiring the public to wear masks. The decision comes after Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order giving county mayors the authority to issue mask mandates.

In June, Hutto attempted to mandate masks in Wilson County, only to realize he did not have the authority to do so. Instead, he strongly encouraged residents to wear masks when in public spaces. After Gov. Lee’s announcement and much thought, Hutto decided to continue encouraging the public to wear masks rather than making it a requirement.

While testing and case numbers have increased, so has the percentage rate for positive results. From June 7 to July 7, case numbers more than doubled from 475 to 999. On June 15, the percentage of positive tests was 5.7%. On July 7, 7% of those tested in Wilson County were positive.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, Wilson County has 1,275 cases as of July 14, ranking in the top 10 counties in terms of total case numbers. At least 17 people in the county have died as a result of COVID-19.

In a press conference held July 8, Mayor Hutto said the community should pull together to do what it takes to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We want you to decide to do what’s right,” said Hutto. “Even if it’s an inconvenience for you, we promise you will never go wrong putting others first. Make a difference today for somebody you don’t even know by doing what you think is best for them.”

Many local and county officials and members of the unified taskforce joined Hutto in his announcement and showed their support.

Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ashe, also in support of Hutto’s decision, urged residents to continue washing their hands and following distancing guidelines to help avoid another shutdown as it could be disastrous for small businesses.

In addition to following guidelines, county officials encourage the community to tested, especially if they feel ill. Testing is being done at the Wilson County Fairgrounds Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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