Murfreesboro mayor issues mask mandate

On Monday, Murfreesboro Mayor Bill Ketron announced a mask mandate for his county. MTSU will also require masks this fall. {File Photo}

MURFREESBORO — On Monday, Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron joined 10 other Tennessee counties and issued a mandate requiring all citizens and visitors to wear mask “when social distancing is not possible.”

Previously Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison, and Shelby counties (those with independent health departments) had the authority to issue mask mandates. Prior to the July 4 weekend, Governor Bill Lee issued an executive order allowing local mayors and metro executives to do the same.

Since then, Rutherford, Wilson, Sevier, Davidson, Robertson, Sumner, Williamson, Knox, Shelby, Madison, and Hamilton counties have all issued their own mask mandates.

“We received a lot of support from our local businesses including some of our big box stores,” Mayor Ketron stated in a press release. “But the reality is, some of our citizens and visitors just are not taking this health event seriously enough.”

Students at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro will also be required to wear face masks on campus this fall, according to their website.

“If you want to be on campus, if you want the university to continue to stay open, you need to do these things: You need to wear a mask. You have to wash your hands. You need to do the things that the CDC and our local and state health officials ask you to do,” said President Sidney A. McPhee in a CSPAN interview on Friday. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Local Walmarts now require masks

According to their corporate website, all area Walmart and Sam’s Club stores will begin requiring masks on Monday, July 20. {Photo Courtesy of Walmart}

Officials at Walmart and Sam’s Club in Tennessee and throughout the U.S. announced this week that customers must now wear mask to gain entry to all stores.

“We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC,” stated Walmart CEO Dacona Smith on their corporate website on Wednesday. To read that complete post, click here.

The new requirement will be implemented at the Winchester, Fayetteville, and Tullahoma Walmarts effective Monday, July 20.

“While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities. According to the CDC, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance,” they stated on Wednesday.

To ensure consistency, all stores will have a single entrance. Walmart stores will not provide masks if customer show up without them.

“As we have seen in states and municipalities with mask mandates, virtually everyone either brings a mask or readily complies with the requirement, and we anticipate that to happen in other areas as well,” they said. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Metro Mayor: No mask mandate in Moore County

Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis says she and Metro Sheriff Tyler Hatfield are in agreement that a mask mandate would be difficult to enforce in Moore County. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — According to Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis, she will not issue a mask mandate in Moore County. On July 3, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order 54, granting Tennessee county mayors and executives the power to issue individual mask mandates in their locations. The Governor’s office official position is that they high recommend but will not require masks.

The following day on Metro Moore County’s Facebook Page, Mayor Bonnie Lewis issued a public statement saying she had no plans to issue such a mandate.

“I do not plan on issuing a mandate in Moore County saying our citizens have to wear a mask,” Mayor Lewis stated. “Sheriff Hatfield and I are in agreement. We don’t have the manpower to police any such action and we don’t think it is the right thing to do here. I understand why the governor wanted to give the decision to the local governments because one size ruling does not fit all. Since the beginning, he has also recommended that we need to be responsible.

“It is obvious that folks are at different levels of comfort with the coronavirus,” she continued. “People are ready to make decisions about what they feel is best for them and their family. I have faith our citizens will be considerate and respectful of others by giving everyone their space – literally and figuratively.”

Larger communities like Davidson County (Nashville), Williamson County (Franklin), Hamilton County (Chattanooga), Robertson County (Springfield), and Sumner County (Gallatin) all issued mandatory mask mandates.

Many officials in southern, middle Tennessee’s smaller, more rural counties choose not to mandate masks. In addition to Moore County, mayors in Coffee, Franklin, Giles, and Lawrence counties have publicly stated that they do no intend to issue a mask mandate.

To express your opinion for or against a mask mandate in Moore County, contact Mayor Lewis at 931-759-7076. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Lynchburg Nursing Center needs masks, gloves

LOCAL NEWS — On Monday, the staff of the Lynchburg Nursing Center (LNC) put out a call on social media asking the general public for donations of unused personal protective equipment (PPE) like N95 masks, surgical masks, surgical gowns, or exam gloves.

“In the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, there has been an increased need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). If you or anyone you know have extra, unused and unopened N95 masks, isolation/surgical masks, isolation/surgical gowns or exam gloves (vinyl, latex or nitrile), please consider donating them to your local hospital, nursing facility or urgent care facility. Any donations will be put to great use and appreciated by health care’s frontline heroes,” they stated on their Facebook page.

On March 18, LNC made the tough decision to close the facility to visitors, non-essential employees, and vendors. They also stopped all group activities and communal dining temporarily. Despite this decision, the staff is still working hard to connect patients with their friends and families through mail, telephone, video calls, and other technology.

To contact them about a PPE donation, call 759-6000. LNC is located at 40 Nursing Home Road on Highway 55 across from Moore County High School. You can also learn more by visiting their Facebook page or website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}