The City of Oak Ridge does not have the authority to require face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials said Wednesday.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Anderson County, which includes Oak Ridge, has increased significantly this month. The county had 178 total cases on Thursday—a 70 percent increase since July 2—and the number of active cases more than doubled in eight days.
As the number of cases has surged in the region, people have set up social media groups where members have reported on mask use at local businesses and offices and called for mandatory masks, including in Oak Ridge and its schools.
On Wednesday, the city said it is prohibited from enacting or enforcing a mask requirement because of a Tennessee attorney general opinion issued in April and an executive order from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee in May. (The attorney general’s opinion is Opinion Number 20-07, and the executive order is Executive Order Number 38.)[Read more…]