CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett signed Emergency Order #21 on Tuesday, restoring the mandate for all Montgomery County residents to wear face masks in public in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The order includes a declaration of a public health emergency and comes after discussions with the local health department and emergency services directors, City of Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts and several other mayors in Middle Tennessee.
“I am in full support of Mayor Durrett’s mask mandate. The City of Clarksville will do all we can to reinforce the County’s emergency order,” Mayor Pitts said.
The latest order requires Montgomery County residents and visitors to wear cloth or other face coverings that cover the nose and mouth of a person to impede the spread of the coronavirus during speaking, coughing, sneezing or other action.
Face coverings must be worn in these areas:
Public areas of commercial business establishments.
Public areas of all Montgomery County, City of Clarksville and Clarksville-Montgomery County School System facilities.
Public outdoor areas where social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.
Public areas of business offices where there is direct interaction with the public and social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.
The order also requires businesses open to the public to post a sign requiring masks at all public entrances. The sign can be found on the Montgomery County website, https://mcgtn.org
The mandate will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 28, 2020, and will expire at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2020, when Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order #63 giving authority to county mayors to issue COVID-19 mask requirements ends on October 30. If Governor Lee extends the authority for county mayors to issue mask mandates, Mayor Durrett will extend the mask mandate through Nov. 19, 2020, to allow at least 21 days of data to be tracked.
“Our trajectory is moving in the wrong direction,” Mayor Durrett said. “While I appreciate there are differing opinions about masks, our local data suggests they work to reduce the incidence of this virus. Based on my conversations with other community leaders, we feel the mask mandate is in the best health interest of our residents.”
The latest data for Montgomery County reveals:
Active cases have more than doubled from 225 at the end of September to 532 cases by Oct. 26.
COVID-19 related deaths totaled 46 on Sept. 30. That number surged to 57 on Oct. 26.
The average daily case rate doubled from 22 in September to 41 by Oct. 26.
The latest 14-day average is 50 new cases per day.
Cases hit a record high, with 102 new cases reported on Oct. 25.
Montgomery County Director of Health Joey Smith said he appreciated Mayor Durrett’s action to restore the mask mandate.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in active cases,” Smith said. “On Sept. 11, Montgomery County had 212 active cases and for 31 days we stayed in the 200s. It took only seven days to move from 299 to 427 active cases. Then it only took seven more days to move to 540 active cases.”
Exceptions for wearing face-coverings, as outlined in Governor Lee’s Executive Order 54, include:
Persons within one's residence or automobile, unless transporting others for hire.
Children 12 years of age or younger.
Persons who have trouble breathing because of an underlying health condition or another bona fide medical or health-related reason for not wearing a face-covering.
Someone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance.
While eating or drinking.
While outdoors, unless the person cannot substantially maintain appropriate social distancing from others outside of the person's household.
While working under conditions where appropriate social distancing from others outside of the person's household is substantially maintained.
In situations in which wearing a face-covering poses a safety or security risk.
While in a house of worship unless required by that house of worship, but wearing a face covering in such locations is strongly encouraged.
While in a voting site for the purpose of voting or administering an election, but wearing a face covering in such locations is strongly encouraged.
COVID-19 tests are provided free of charge by the Montgomery County Health Department from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays at Civitan Park, 650 Bellamy Lane.
For more about Montgomery County Services and COVID-19 information, such as a case-data dashboard, videos, signage, advice and previous mandates, visit mcgtn.org or call 931-648-5787.