Statement on masks


(July 7, 2020) – On July 3, Gov. Bill Lee granted to mayors of 89 Tennessee counties the authority to issue and set local mask requirements in response to a recent statewide spike in COVID-19 cases.

Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham continues to closely study the local COVID-19 situation and has consulted with a variety of officials this week on the issue.

“Masks are not perfect,” said Graham. “They aren’t a silver bullet. They can be one of many useful tools in helping prevent the airborne spread of the virus, and I encourage Bedford County residents to use them whenever appropriate. But also I realize that a legal mandate would present a variety of challenges, and I’m not ready at this time to take that kind of action.”

Graham and Bedford County Emergency Management Agency director Scott Johnson are seeking more specific information from the state about Bedford County’s COVID-19 cases which would help him decide whether the recent uptick in cases is general or tied to a specific case cluster.

“I continue to urge Bedford countians to take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of those they come into contact with,” said Graham. “We have not returned to ‘normal,’ and we won’t for some time. We must take steps like social distancing seriously if we are to slow down the spread of this disease. We’re looking at ways to help get that message out more clearly.”

Consumers should make their concerns about COVID-19 safety known to the businesses and agencies they frequent, and work with them in a constructive manner to resolve the issue.

Graham and Johnson continue to monitor the situation. They have remained in contact with the state health department; the mayors of Shelbyville, Bell Buckle, Normandy and Wartrace; and Bedford County’s state legislators to discuss appropriate responses.