CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – County Mayor Jim Durrett signed an executive order Monday that requires all employees of businesses open to the public in Clarksville-Montgomery County to wear face masks.
Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order #54 on Friday giving county mayors in 89 Tennessee counties authority to issue COVID-19 mask requirements.
The mandate to wear masks will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. July 8 and end July 15. Emergency orders are valid for seven days and can be extended for seven-day periods. Durrett announced he expects to extend the order through July 22, and then evaluate whether to extend it further.
Durrett’s Emergency Order #9 requires business employees to wear masks, unless social distancing can be conducted consistently. This order will be enforced on an as-needed basis.
Mayor Joe Pitts said he supported Mayor Durrett’s order and has called a special City Council meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday to consider a resolution supporting the Montgomery County decree.
"I applaud Mayor Durrett’s willingness to issue this emergency order,” Mayor Pitts said. “ It is imperative we continue to work together to keep our citizens safe."
Mayors Durrett and Pitts met Monday with Montgomery County Health Department Director Joey Smith and Director of Medical Services Jimmie Edwards to discuss mask requirements.
“Based on the data we have seen, our cases are going up at a level that is uncomfortable,” Mayor Durrett said. “We know there is a ‘lag’ in receiving testing data as more people are being tested. We must be proactive -- so our first step is to require employees of businesses open to the public to wear face coverings. We are strongly encouraging all businesses to require patrons to wear a mask when visiting their business. We do not want to issue another stay at home order. Although some may feel this is encroaching on their freedoms, it is an effort to keep our local businesses open and our residents employed, while doing it in a safe manner.
“Like many of you, I want to see our kids back in school, I want to enjoy a high school football game, a soccer game or a volleyball game. I want to see little league baseball and college football again. I want our children to have proms and graduations, skating parties and birthday parties” Durrett added. “It really boils down to the young adults and children of this community having the opportunity to grow and prosper as we did, and also protecting the population that is more vulnerable to this virus. If it takes wearing a mask for all of this to happen, then we should all sacrifice a little for the gain of many. We must all remember -- it’s not about me, it’s about we!”
Health Department Director Smith said testing numbers continue to increase, which means hundreds of people in Montgomery County are waiting for results. The data will continue to be reviewed by local leaders and health officials who will follow the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
For more, visit the Montgomery County COVID-19 portal at mcgtn.org or call 931-648-5787.