County Mayor restores mask mandate in Montgomery County

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. – Today, Oct. 27, 2020, Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett signed Emergency Order #21 to restore the wearing of face masks by all residents in Montgomery County. This emergency order includes a declaration of public health emergency and comes after discussions with the local health department and emergency services directors, City of Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts as well as several mayors in Middle Tennessee. Exceptions to the mandate are listed in the latter part of this news release.

The latest order states cloth or other face coverings that cover the nose and mouth of a person to impede the spread of the virus during speaking, coughing, sneezing or other action, shall be required in Montgomery County, Tennessee. Face coverings shall be worn within all publicly-accessible areas of commercial business establishments; persons present in the public areas of all Montgomery County and City of Clarksville government facilities, including Clarksville-Montgomery County School System; public outdoor areas where social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained and within publicly-accessible areas of business offices where there is direct interaction with the public and social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained. The order also requires any business open to the public to post a sign which can be found on the Montgomery County website, requiring masks on all public entrances.

The mandate will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 28, 2020, and is set expire at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2020, when Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order #63 giving authority to county mayors to issue COVID-19 mask requirements ends on October 30. Once 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. 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,” said Mayor Durrett.

“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,” said Mayor Pitts.

The latest data for Montgomery County reveals the following:

  • Active cases have more than doubled from 225 at the end of Sept. to 532 cases by Oct. 26.
  • By Sept. 30, there were 46 total COVID-19 related deaths, and today, there are 57 COVID-19 related deaths.
  • 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 this weekend with 102 new cases reported on Oct. 25.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in active cases. 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. I appreciate Mayor Durrett taking action,” said Montgomery County Director of Health Joey Smith.

Exceptions for wearing face-coverings include the following as outlined in Governor Lee’s Executive Order 54:

  • Within one’s residence or automobile, unless transporting others for hire;
  • By a child twelve (12) years of age or younger;
  • By someone who has trouble breathing due to an underlying health condition or another bona fide medical or health-related reason for not wearing a face-covering;
  • By 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; or
  • 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 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Civitan Park, located at 650 Bellamy Lane.

The Montgomery County Government web site has a host of COVID-19 related information, to include a COVID-19 dashboard, videos, signage, advice and previous mandates. You can also call 931-648-5787 for questions.

Joshua Beal

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