Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell issued a statement Monday, July 6, stating that he feels he does not have the “legal or constitutional authority” to mandate use of facemasks in Coffee County amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, Cordell calls for citizens to wash hands and remain socially distanced.
Cordell’s statement comes days after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee granted authority to 89 Tennessee counties, including Coffee County, to mandate masks at their discretion. Cordell’s statement is as follows:
“As everyone would agree, we are living in unprecedented times in the history of our nation. We all have our own ideas as to the best path to move forward. The medical and scientific professionals have many differing opinions as to how to combat this virus. As Mayor of Coffee County I don’t feel I have the legal or constitutional authority to mandate the use of face masks upon our citizens. I know some will disagree with this decision. The citizens of our great county are intelligent enough to make that decision for themselves. I’m very concerned about the safety of our citizens, especially our seniors and those with underlying health conditions, but our citizens have the right to make the decision to wear masks if they deem it necessary.
“I suggest we simply adhere to a good neighbor policy and wash our hands, social distance and I highly recommend we wear face masks in public.
“We continue to have periodic emergency management team meeting to access the situation in our county. We will keep our citizens informed. Together we will get through this. Continue to pray for out county, state and nation. God Bless America!”