CONTACT: Randall Hutto, Wilson County Mayor
Office of the County Mayor
Room 104, Courthouse
228 East Main Street
Lebanon, TN 37087
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2020
Wilson County, TN – On July 3rd, Governor Lee signed Executive Order 54 granting county mayors in 89 Tennessee counties the authority to issue local mask requirements in the event of a significant rise in COVID-19 cases. After careful consideration, I am issuing a countywide Executive Order requiring the wearing of face masks, if you can, outside the exclusions listed in the executive order, in public places, wherever you can, that you cannot property maintain 6 feet of social distance. It is imperative that all Wilson County citizens work together to slow the spread of COVID-19.
This decision has not been made in haste nor was it a decision to be made by the Wilson County Commission. The authority has been given solely to county mayors by Governor Lee. On June 24th, we issued an order strongly encouraging the wearing of face masks in public. This was a response to Wilson County being named a "hotspot" by Dr. Piercey during Governor Lee's press conference on June 23rd• Our numbers have continued to climb since this date. Certainly, an influx in testing does contribute to an increase positive cases; however, it's important to look at all the data:
• June 7th to July 7th (a period of one month) the total number of cases more than doubled from 475 to 999. Also, on June 7th, the 14-day average number of cases was 8.6 per day. Today, the 14-day average is 39.5 per day.
• June 15th to July 7th, the average number of people testing positive increased from 5.7%to 7.2%. Today, 8.1% of people tested are positive.
• July 13th, Wilson County saw its highest increase in cases (74). We hit this number again just three days later, July 16th.
On July 8th we held a press conference. I was joined by local healthcare professionals, city/county leaders, school superintendents, law enforcement, EMS, local fire departments and chamber presidents (COVID Taskforce members). Each entity presented strong cases about the importance of wearing masks in public.
Wilson County has provided information to the public for residents to make good choices regarding protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. We have made public statements through social media and with Public Service Announcements on Wilson County Television. Other government entities have made similar posts strongly encouraging people to wear masks when in public and when near other people. Many local businesses have joined the Blue-Ribbon initiative to show their commitment to the TN Pledge. These efforts have not been in vain, but it is now clear that wearing masks in public places (with some exclusions in the Executive Order) must become mandatory.
As we navigate this pandemic, we realize that questions are inevitable. Often, we have a "knee jerk" reaction to a situation before digesting all the information. I would urge you to read the attached executive order in its entirety. The answers to many questions may lie within. The full executive order will be available on our website at www.wilsoncountytn.gov.
Many have asked how a mandate will affect the school system. Per Governor Lee's Order, unless extended, my authority to mandate wearing masks expires on August 3rd therefore having no effect on any decision made by the school board.
Everyone in Wilson County has a duty to be responsible and do their part to slow the spread of this virus. Healthcare professionals nation-wide have recommended that wearing a face mask, along with other recommended guidelines, is the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19. If community action is not taken, the spread will continue to intensify thus affecting our daily activities. This action is necessary to ensure not only everyone's safety but also that local businesses can remain open and schools can re-open this fall. Allowing this spread to continue puts our health, economy and way of life at risk. During the aftermath of the March 3rd tornado, Wilson County exhibited the true spirit of "helping your neighbor." Now, we find ourselves faced with a new challenge, but it can be overcome. Help your neighbor once more by wearing a face mask. This Executive Order will remain in effect until 12:00 a.m., Central Daylight Time, on August 3, 2020. This Order shall be effective at 11:59 P.M., July 19, 2020 and shall be reissued in accordance and in conjunction with executive orders from Governor Lee regarding the wearing of face masks.
Wilson County Mayor
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Farm Bureau Exposition Center open?
Yes, the Farm Bureau Exposition Center never closed. In mid-March, with the government guidelines in force, access to the Exposition Center was restricted to an appointment only status through May 2020. In June, the Farm Bureau Exposition Center took the TN Pledge to ensure the safety of staff, event planners and guests. The relaxed guidelines at that time allowed for evaluating each planned event to identify any modifications necessary to maintain the safety of all involved. We are continuing to monitor events while honoring our TN Pledge.
Are masks required?
Yes, at this time masks are required for all events inside the Farm Bureau Exposition Center. Activities outside do not require masks as long as the 6’ social distancing parameters are applied. It is the event planner’s responsibility to ensure this requirement is upheld.
Are masks provided to those that do not have them?
The Farm Bureau Exposition Center maintains a limited mask supply. It is our goal to be able to offer a mask if a guest does not have one as long as the supply is available.
What are the seating capacities under the current COVID-19 guidelines?
Each event is different and requires evaluation on how to manage social distancing in seating layouts. Family units are allowed normal seating capacity, whereas, strangers are maintained at 6’ distances.
How often are meeting areas sanitized?
Meeting areas are sanitized before and after each event and depending on the length of the event with intermitted sanitization if it is a multi-day event.
Are hand sanitizing stations available?
Yes, they are two multi-dispenser locations maintained inside the Farm Bureau Exposition Center.
Are temperature checks required?
When visiting the Farm Bureau Exposition Center Office, temperature checks are required for all guests, as well as 7 health-related questions per the CDC guidelines for screening any potential exposure. Event planners have the option to conduct temperature checks at their event and/or request response to health-related questions per the CDC guidelines.
How can I get a refund for a cancelled event?
Inquiries regarding refunds for events should be directed to the Event Planner for that particular event. If you are not certain who to contact, please call 615-450-3049 or visiting farmbureauexpo.com/contact-us for event information.