The government of Tennessee, led by Bill Lee, had declared to remove mandates on wearing masks as the issue is no longer prevalent in the state. He had also urged the government of other counties to remove mask restrictions by Memorial Day.
Tennessee To Lift Mask Mandates
The Tennessee government has been facing more public hesitations towards vaccines than the nation as a whole. Tennessee currently has only 42.8% of the total adult population vaccinated with at least one dose. This is quite low when compared to the national vaccination rate of 53.9%, as per the data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tennessee is the third-lowest state that has the adult population vaccinated.
According to Lee, vaccines have become available in the state only a few weeks before. However, the government is hosting marketing campaigns to spread awareness of vaccines. Lee, whose current focus is on improving the state’s economy, has also stated that the country will have to accept the disease as a part of life and continue with life as it is. Lee further added that people need to continue celebrating events without facing any restrictions on gathering sizes.
Apart from Tennessee, six other states are removing mask mandates and other Covid-19 restrictions. These include Mississippi, Alabama, North Dakota, Texas, Montana, and Iowa. Many states have never implemented restrictions concerning the virus. States like Texas have resumed businesses at full fledge from the previous month.
According to Doug McGowen, who is the chief operating officer of Memphis, it will be a few more weeks before Memphis can get away with the mask mandates. McGowen is also a member of Shelby County’s Covid-19 task force. He believes that communities that have sufficient doses of vaccination may request lifting mask mandates. However, Memphis does not have enough of its population vaccinated, which is why the city will have to continue with the restrictions for the time being.
Meanwhile, the Nashville government has announced that the covid restrictions on mass gatherings and businesses will not be lifted before May 14. The government chose this date as it will be six weeks after the city has its adult population vaccinated.
Tennessee has witnessed around 12,100 cases of death caused by the virus. In the last two weeks, the state had 268 reports of new cases for every 100,000 people, according to the research data of John Hopkins University. Such a high number of new cases has caused Tennessee to rank 18th in the country.
The Lee government did not have a strict approach throughout the pandemic. It was left on individual counties to implement mandates on wearing masks. Lee had removed restrictions on social gatherings and businesses last year during the fall. Since then, only 89 of the 95 counties had maintained the restrictions. Tennessee was one of the last states that mandated people to stay at homes at the onset of the virus. Tennessee was also among the first states to resume businesses, said Lee.
The Tennessee government had issued a few guidelines, called the Tennessee Pledge, to help businesses operate safely during the pandemic. But Lee has now decided to put aside those guidelines as he believes that the people are capable of maintaining their lives without any guidebook. He also added that Tennessee would continue to need emergency services but for federal funding.
The current mask guidelines released by the CDC allow fully vaccinated people to put down masks in small social gatherings. They should, however, avoid indoor gatherings with many people. CDC further states that those who are not vaccinated yet should continue to wear masks when close to others.