Hopefully all of your masks are clean for Thursday when Rutherford County will reinstate its mask requirement.
After a month of bare faces, the number of COVID cases increased dramatically and our county mayor actually did something about it. County Mayor Bill Ketron announced Monday afternoon that the Rutherford County Face Covering Order will be reinstated effective at midnight Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.
"This is not a decision that I make lightly," Ketron said finally putting his political fate under the fate of the people of Rutherford County. "Our cases in this county hit a record spike over the weekend, with the data indicating a higher transmission rate than that we experienced in late July."
As a reminder, late July was the last time Ketron imposed a mask mandate. After months of declining cases and deaths, he bowed to political pressure Sept. 22 and lifted the mandate. Recent local data shows that current cases are 2.8 times the level in early September when the mandate was lifted, with the seven-day average positive rate also doubling since that time.
Turns out masks actually do help prevent the spread of COVID-19, no matter what your crazy uncle says he read on the internet (insert eye roll GIF here).
Finally, the numbers that have been spiking for weeks forced Ketron's hand.
"These figures are too significant to overlook," said Ketron. "Hospital officials are beginning to see the number of cases in-house similar to the height of the first wave. We have to act NOW!"
And, yes, he has the authority to mandate masks (and no, it's not any more of a violation of your civil rights than to require you to wear pants).
Ketron is empowered by Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order 63, which authorizes County Mayors to require face coverings within their jurisdictions expires on October 30 at 11:59 p.m.; however, Lee’s office has announced anticipation of the order being extended through the end of the calendar year. Therefore, the Rutherford County Face Covering Order will be in effect until further notice.
Ketron then reminded everyone to wash their hands.
"We need to be vigilant about washing our hands frequently, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting high contact surfaces, and staying at home when sick. It takes all of these measures together to cut our risks of getting or spreading the virus."
Let's all be #RutherfordResponsible and wear the masks for as long as it takes.