In July, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54. This grants county mayors in 89 counties authority to issue mask requirements.
Local county governments across East Tennessee are working to make decisions for their communities moving forwards.
Here's what we know so far. This list will continue to be updated as new information comes in.
Greene County: Mayor Kevin Morrison issued an executive order requiring masks to be worn in public beginning on July 15.
Hamblen County: With cases continuing to rise, the Hamble Co. mayor issued a mask mandate that took effect on Aug. 4 at 12:01 a.m. and will last through Aug. 29.
Hawkins County: Following the authority of Gov. Lee's executive order, Mayor Jim Lee said issued a county mask mandate on July 17 that lasts until Aug. 13.
Knox County: The Knox County Board of Health voted to mandate face masks in indoor areas where six feet of social distancing can't be maintained, staring on July 1.
Sevier County: Mayor Larry Waters announced Tuesday a mask mandate goes into effect starting Friday, July 10 until August 3. That order was extended on August 4 through Aug. 29. The mandate includes Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and other cities within the county and requires people to wear masks while indoors in public spaces and businesses.
As of August 4, the Tennessee Dept. of Health said 23 Tennessee counties have mask requirements: Carter, Davidson, Dyer, Greene, Hamilton, Hamblen Hawkins, Humphreys, Johnson, Knox, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Sevier, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, Unicoi, Washington, Williamson, Wilson.
This effectively places close to 70 percent of Tennessee’s population under a mask requirement, given the combined population of the counties with a requirement in place.
NO MASK REQUIRED:
Anderson County: Mayor Terry Frank said, "I trust and respect he 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," and chose no mask mandate in Anderson County.
You can read more about the decision here.
Blount County: Mayor Ed Mitchell said he has no plans to issue a mask mandate, saying "personal responsibility will always be the best defense." Mitchell said the county has questions about the legal implications and ability to enforce such a mandate. The mayor said businesses still have the authority to individually require customers to wear masks for service if they choose.
Campbell County: Mayor E.L. Morton said "wearing masks remains a recommendation, alongside frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, temperature checks at gathering places, groups of 50 or less, at 6 feet apart."
You can read more about his decision below or by clicking here.
Claiborne County: County Mayor Joe Brooks and city mayors agreed not to issue a county-wide mandate, but signed a memorandum Tuesday urging people to wear face coverings in public and asking businesses to develop and implement plans on their own for face coverings.
Cocke County: Mayor Crystal Ottinger is not mandating masks but said mask use is "highly urged." She said in a memorandum "I strongly encourage and respectfully ask that everyone who can and will to please wear a mask in public." Ottinger is working with the Cocke County EMA to deliver free masks to those who want or need them. Read more below:
Fentress County: County Executive Jimmy Johnson will not be making a mask mandate. He says due to their rural location and low number of positive cases they will leave the decision up to each individual and respect each person's decisions. He says they will consider re-evaluating if cases were to rise dramatically.
Grainger County: Mayor Mike Byrd said he will not be making a mask mandate but will continue to emphasize preventative measures. He will be releasing more information on Thursday afternoon.
Hamblen County: Mayor Bill Brittain said he will not mandate masks for the county but strongly recommends them. He said he wants to "strongly encourage that we have a change of heart and attitude about protecting each other from the virus" through social distancing and sanitizing.
Jefferson County: Mayor Mark Potts said that he would not require people in Jefferson County to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, he encouraged people to take steps towards protecting people around them by washing their hands, wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing.
Loudon County: Mayor Buddy Bradshaw encourages "everyone to wear masks as well as social distance," but is leaving the decision up to the public to decide for themselves.
Read more about his decision below or by clicking here.
McMinn County: McMinn County Mayor John Gentry released a statement saying the county does "not believe that responsible behavior has to be mandated to our citizens." Masks will be recommended but not required. To read his full statement, CLICK HERE.
Monroe County: Mayor Mitch Ingram said he encourages masks to be worn but leaves the decision up to citizens.
Morgan County: County Executive Brian Langley said masks are not required at this time, but he is asking people to "use common sense measures to protect themselves and others." You can read his full statement by clicking here.
Roane County: County Executive Ron Woody said there is no statewide mask mandate, but masks are required inside county buildings, like the courthouse and county offices
Union County: Mayor Jason Bailey said he along with several county mayors in the region are waiting to make a decision after they get further clarity from the state.