The executive order for face coverings that was issued by Roane County Executive Ron Woody on Monday could be in effect through December 29 unless Woody and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee extend the order.
The mask mandate does not apply to:
- someone who is in their home or automobile, unless they are transporting someone for hire;
- a child 12 years old or younger;
- someone who has trouble breathing due to an underlying health condition or another 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 help;
- someone who is eating or drinking;
- someone who is outdoors, unless the person can not maintain the appropriate physical distances from people outside their home;
- someone who is working and maintains an appropriate distance from other people outside the person’s home;
- situations in which wearing a face covering poses a safety or security risk;
- houses of worship unless required by the house of worship, although wearing a face covering in those locations is strongly encouraged; and
- people in a voting site who are voting or administering an election, but wearing a face covering in those locations is strongly encouraged.
It wasn’t immediately clear what penalties there might be, if any, for someone who does not follow the mask mandate. In a social media message Monday morning, Woody said he hopes no law enforcement will be needed. He said his office is not involved in enforcing the mask mandate in Roane County because that was not granted in Lee’s executive order.
Masks are one public health measure that experts say help reduce the spread of COVID-19, along with maintaining physical distances from people outside your home, staying home when you are sick, and frequent hand washing.
The west end of Oak Ridge is in Roane County, although most of the city’s residents live in Anderson County.
Cases have risen significantly in the region and state, including in Anderson and Roane counties, and across the country in October and November, with daily records being set for new cases, additional deaths, and current hospitalizations.
Roane County has reported almost four times as many COVID-19 deaths so far this month, 15, than in the previous monthly high of four in September. The county has reported more new cases so far this month, 717, than in the previous monthly high—543 in October. And hospitalizations are close to the monthly high of 15, even though there is still a week left in this month.