Should the Upper Cumberland county leaders come together and issue a region-wide mask mandate. At least one county executive believes the time has arrived.
Van Buren County Mayor Greg Wilson said he will try to gather county leadership together early this week to suggest such an approach.
“I am going to urge my fellow county mayors in the Upper Cumberland to do a mask mandate,” Wilson said. “And, I know Jimmy Haley (Warren County Executive) will as well. We are not at the point of whether well maybe we should or shouldn’t. No, it is time we do.”
Wilson said the region’s inter-reliance on other counties with people working, eating and shopping in neighboring communities makes a region- wide approach workable. Gov. Bill Lee has repeatedly called on local leaders in the Upper Cumberland to institute more stringent guidelines.
“So, I do think our businesses, not just in Van Buren County, but across the Upper Cumberland and state wide need to help and support a mask mandate,” Wilson said. “I do not think it will hurt their revenues and their businesses. I think it will actually make people feel safer.”
Wilson said having the state support the region mandate would make implementation easier.
“I know the governor, and I am grateful for him allowing us to have that authority to do a mask mandate, but the enforceable part with his backing would be much stronger coming from him,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, he plans on enforcing a mask mandate for Van Buren sometime before Thanksgiving. Last week, the Upper Cumberland had over 1,600 new positive COVID cases.