Tennessee’s local health departments will no longer have the power to enact mask mandates beginning on Wednesday, Republican Governor Bill Lee announced in a press conference Tuesday morning.
The governor’s decision will go into effect through Executive Order 80, which contains a provision that the governor’s office said will both strip the power to enact mask mandates from most health departments and “address economic and regulatory functions” around the state.
“After more than a year of public-led health interventions, we’re in a different season. It’s time to shift our focus now more toward recovery, and not restrictions,” said Lee.
While the governor’s executive order doesn’t affect the six health departments that operate in Tennessee under local instead of state authority — including Davidson County, home of Nashville — Lee said that his office has spoken with officials in each of those counties and told them that the governor wants any mandates to end by May 30.
“We think that will be happening in