Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron announced Monday that Rutherford County will not impose a mask mandate,–instead, businesses, citizens, and visitors are strongly encouraged to be #RutherfordResponsible.
Being “Rutherford Responsible” means wearing a mask in public when social distancing is impractical, along with other protective measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order 54 late Friday evening, granting county mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local mask requirements, Ketron says he is not ready to mandate for the entire county.
“I believe in our citizens. I am confident that we can do this without forcing their hand,” said Ketron.
As part of the #RutherfordResponsible initiative, Mayor Ketron is partnering with local organizations such as the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Murfreesboro to gain support from local businesses.
“We are asking the businesses in our communities to adopt this initiative by posting ‘RutherfordResponsible’ signage in their windows or other prominent places in their establishments. This will identify that their business requires masks for employees and patrons.” said Ketron. “Much like the orders in other counties, we realize that there will be exceptions such as eating and drinking and outdoor activities that allow for proper social distancing.”
Rutherford County Government will also be participating. Mayor Ketron said he and staff members are in the process of developing a policy requiring masks for County employees that interact with the public on a regular basis. Under the policy, the general public will also be required to wear masks in County office buildings. More information will be released on the policy when available.
Mayor Ketron said the decision of whether to mandate or not was a tough one, but he has the full support of the Rutherford County Mayors’ Caucus.
“We know our citizens want to get back to a state of normalcy as soon as possible, but we cannot accomplish that without their assistance with taking personal responsibility for their health,” said City of La Vergne Mayor Jason Cole.
Town of Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed said, “We have faith that if enough of our businesses join together in this effort, our citizens will follow suit.” Reed also reminds citizens that if they ever feel uncomfortable at an establishment, the customer has the right to not do business with them.
City of Eagleville Mayor Chad Leeman said, “Likewise, businesses have the ability to refuse service to someone who does not adhere to mask requirements for their property.”
Aside from the overall health impact, our local economy is another consideration. City of Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland said, “We want to do our best not to have another shutdown. That is why it is so important that citizens and businesses take these protective measures so seriously. Many small businesses have indicated that they will not survive another shutdown.”
“We have heard from many of our citizens who are in favor of a mandate, and while we absolutely respect that, we want to give our communities another chance to do the right thing on their own,” said Ketron. “So please do your part and be #RutherfordResponsible.”
That sounds good, but in reality that’s what we have been doing already, and too many people are not taking it seriously enough. Since the decision came out I have seen a lot more people wearing them, but there is still a lot that aren’t, making the effort mute. That’s why we need strong leadership that are willing to make the hard decisions and enforce them, if we don’t get near 100% compliance it will all be for nothing and the virus will shut us down again,and most of us can’t take that. I know of outbreaks in businesses in our County that officials also knew about and they never warned patrons. There should also be a requirement for businesses that have had employees that tested positive post their numbers so patrons entering their facility will know what they are getting into.
I totally agree !!!
It has been bad, we need a strong leadership. A good leader protects their people.
It does not seem mayors are protecting this county. I am wondering if 36 death is not good enough ???
When I learned Governor Lee had given authority to local authorities, I was relieved. In Murfreesboro, very few people are wearing mask and social distancing. I emailed both the Mayors of Rutherford and City of Murfreesboro to do the right thing and establish a more restrictive mask mandate. This is not it. I challenge the Rutherford Source to send a reporter out to the stores, Lowe’s being one of them, and report back how this policy is working with interviews from the Mayors. It would be interesting to know what the criteria is for a stronger policy considering the increasing cases in our town.
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