Tennessee’s Republican Governor Takes Away Health Department’s Ability To Mandate Masks

Today is the first day Tennessee’s health department no longer has the authority to mandate masks.

Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced, through Executive Order 80, health departments are stripped of the power to force citizens to wear a face covering. He said this is in an effort to “address economic and regulatory functions” in the state.

Lee also said, “After more than a year of public-led health interventions, we’re in a different season. It’s time to shift our focus now more toward recovery, and no restrictions.”

For those health departments that operate on local levels, Lee indicated that he wants their mandates to end by May 30th.

In a separate press conference Nashville’s Mayor, Democrat John Cooper, said limitations on capacity will be lifted. However, the city’s indoor mask mandates will remain.

Lee noted that the positive developments in the state are due to citizens taking personal responsibility over their own health. “Above all else, Tennesseans have embraced the idea of personal responsibility, and have allowed us to get in this state from a public health crisis to a managed health issue. For the first time since COVID-19, vaccine has become a reality. It has been made available to everyone who wants it in every single county of this state,” Lee said.