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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee removes local authority for Face Masks, focuses on Reopening, Economic Recovery

Tennessee State GovernmentNashville, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced the end of statewide public health orders and signed Executive Order 80 to address economic and regulatory functions.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee

EO 80 also ends the local authority to issue mask requirements in the 89 counties directed by the state health department.

“COVID-19 is now a managed public health issue in Tennessee and no longer a statewide public health emergency,” said Governor Lee.

“As Tennesseans continue to get vaccinated, it’s time to lift remaining local restrictions, focus on economic recovery and get back to business in Tennessee,” Governor Lee stated.

EO 80 contains the following provisions and is effective through May 31st, 2021:

Removing Local Mask Authority

While Tennessee has never had a statewide mask mandate, EO 80 removes the local authority for county mayors in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to require face coverings throughout their jurisdictions.

Governor Lee has requested counties with independent health departments – Shelby County, Madison County, Davidson County, Hamilton County, Knox County, and Sullivan County – that have remaining business restrictions or mask requirements to lift all measures no later than May 30th.

Extending Deregulatory Provisions

EO 80 extends helpful deregulatory provisions to enable individuals, businesses, and other organizations time to adapt their operations in anticipation of ending said provisions.

Maintaining Federal Funding

EO 80 maintains Tennessee’s access to federal funding, including SNAP benefits and cost reimbursements for the Tennessee National Guard’s testing and vaccination efforts.

In addition to EO 80, the following provisions are effective immediately:


Offering Walk-Up Vaccine Option

While the COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine continues to be available to Tennesseans aged 16 and older by appointment, local health departments will now offer a walk-up option.

Retiring Optional Business Guidance

The Tennessee Pledge business guidelines issued at the start of COVID-19 Coronavirus have been officially retired.


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