Gov. Bill Lee Ends Public Health Orders, Mask Mandates In Most Counties

By Sarah Tate

April 27, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee announced on Tuesday (April 27) that he is ending all statewide public health orders "because COVID-19 is no longer a health emergency" in Tennessee. Additionally, he is ending the authority given to county mayors in 89 Tennessee counties to issue mask mandates, WKRN reports.

The remaining six counties, Davidson, Shelby, Hamilton, Knox, Madison and Sullivan, each have independent health departments and can issue their own mandates. However, Lee is requesting that they lift any mask requirements by the end of May.

"COVID-19 is now a managed public health issue in Tennessee and no longer a statewide public health emergency," said Gov. Lee. "As Tennesseans continue to get vaccinated, it's time to life remaining local restrictions, focus on economic recovery and get back to business in Tennessee."

According to Lee, the decision to end all public health orders stems from the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines across the state. A new executive order also allows local health departments to offer walk-up vaccinations, Fox 17 reports. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit VaccineFinder.org.

"This is about trusting Tennesseans, using the tools we have at our disposal to move on from crisis management and back to life and back to business," he said. "Tennessee is moving forward thanks to her people."

Lee's move comes the same day that Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced that the city would be lifting all capacity restrictions in Davidson County next month. The indoor mask mandate will remain in place.

Photo: Getty Images

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