County will not have a mask mandate

From the Office of Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank

Following the issuance of Executive Order 54 by Gov. Bill Lee, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank announced that she would not exercise the authority of a mandate to wear face coverings.

“The people of Anderson County have been doing a wonderful job following the Governor’s guidance and I often express how proud I am of the job they’ve been doing throughout this COVID-19 pandemic,” Frank said. “I trust and respect the people of Anderson County and I believe it is through encouraging healthy behaviors, promoting prevention, and praising each other that we achieve the greatest health outcomes.”

Under T.C.A. § 58-2-10, known as the emergency management powers of the Governor, the “governor is authorized to delegate such powers as the governor may deem prudent.” In this particular case, Executive Order 54 notes in Section 2 that this delegation of authority to county mayors and executives is specific only to the issuing of “orders concerning face coverings.”

In April, the Tennessee Office of the Attorney General issued Opinion No. 20-07 that “the Governor’s directives in response to an emergency supersede and preempt any action taken by political subdivisions of the State. Absent an express delegation of power by the Governor, local governmental entities may not take actions that are more restrictive or less restrictive with respect to the subjects addressed in the Governor’s executive orders governing the State’s emergency response to COVID-19. “

“I have been greatly distressed by the division caused by the idea of policing our friends, family, and neighbors,” Frank said. “[Any] policy — in whatever community crisis – that pits neighbor against neighbor is not good policy. COVID-19 should not be a law enforcement issue, but like other public health issues, is best served by continuing to create a community of prevention, healthy behavior and constant analysis of our health systems to ensure people are able to get the medical care they need.”

“I appreciate the trust the Governor has in county mayors and executives. I am thankful for his hard work leading us through this crisis and especially, the work of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Lisa Piercey, and our network of local health departments,” Frank said.