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A mandatory mask order in Sevier County went into effect on Friday, July 10 at 12:01 a.m. The mask requirement came after the county saw a rise in the number of coronavirus cases. The original order lasted through August 3. Executive Order 34 now extends the mask requirement through Sept. 30. If you have plans to visit the Smoky Mountain area before then, please be prepared to wear a mask in all public indoor areas and businesses. Here is more information on the mask requirement in Sevier County TN:
Update: Mandatory Mask Order Extended Through Sept. 30
On Aug. 28, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters signed Executive Order 34, which extends the mask mandate through Sept. 30. Executive Order 34 is an extension of Executive Order 23, which has required face coverings in all public indoor areas and businesses since July 10. The previous executive order extending the mask mandate was set to expire on Aug. 29. Officials said Mayor Larry Waters extended the mandatory mask order with support from city leaders. Officials said that between July 24 and Aug. 28, the 7-day average daily case rate decreased by more than 70%, and the 7-day daily positive case rate decreased by more than 11%.
You can read Executive Order 34 here.
Update: Executive Order 29 Extends Mask Mandate
The mandatory mask order is extended through August 29, 2020. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters signed Executive Order 29, which requires face coverings in certain circumstances through August 29. This is an extension of Executive Order 23, which required masks in public indoor areas beginning July 10. In a press release, Mayor Larry Waters stated the following:
“I am extending the mask mandate for the health and safety of the residents, employees, and visitors of Sevier County. We are still collecting data from the tests performed during the original mandate, and I do not feel that we have enough information to end the order. The Sevier County School Administration also believes extending the mandate would be beneficial with regards to opening school later this month. We’ve heard a variety of opinions, including those of the city leaders, health care providers, local businesses, and tourism officials regarding wearing a mask. The majority of the people we’ve spoken to are in favor of continuing the mandate. The wearing of masks is a temporary inconvenience that I believe will help slow the transmission of COVID-19.”
Mandatory Mask Order
The mandatory mask order began on Friday, July 10 and applies to all public indoor areas and businesses. Masks are not required outdoors. Sevier County businesses are asked to put up proper signage that matches the new requirement. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said the decision to make masks mandatory was done out of concern for public health and safety.
Click here to view the official executive order.
Where Are Masks Required?
Masks are mandatory in all indoor areas and businesses that are accessible to the public. Exceptions to this include places of worship and private businesses that can impose stricter social distancing guidelines. When you visit Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville, expect to wear a mask at indoor attractions, shops, and restaurants before you’re seated at your table.
Where Are Masks Not Required?
Masks are not required in outdoor spaces, though you’re expected to maintain a safe social distance from others. Masks are not required in your home or your car, your cabin rental or hotel room, when you’re eating or drinking at a restaurant, or exercising indoors. They are also not required in situations in which wearing a mask poses a safety or security risk.
Who Is Exempt from the Mask Order?
Children 12 and under are not required to wear a mask. People who have a medical condition that makes it difficult to wear a mask are also exempt from this order, as well as people who are incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance. The Sevier County School System is exempt from the mask order as well, as it will formulate its own reopening guidelines.
Why Face Masks in Sevier County?
The Tennessee Department of Health, Knox County Health Department and other health agencies, doctors and experts stress that face coverings are one of the most effective tools available to slow the spread of COVID-19, along with hand-washing and social distancing. The masks stop people who don’t know they’re sick from spreading it to anyone else.
What Happens if I Don’t Wear a Mask?
By law, people and businesses who do not comply can potentially face penalties such as fines. According to Sevier County officials, first time offenders against the order will be given a warning and educated on “the purpose of the order.”
Be Safe When You Visit the Smoky Mountains!
The health and safety of our visitors and locals is our top priority! If you have plans to visit the Smoky Mountains, please be safe and wear a mask to protect the health and safety of those around you.
Visit our COVID-19 page for more information on Smoky Mountain tourism regarding COVID-19.