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Mayor Barnett extends mask mandate to Aug. 29

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Carter County’s Mask Mandate is being extended until Aug. 29 at 11:59 p.m.
Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett made the announcement on Monday.
“The governor extended until Aug. 29, therefore I am extending through Aug. 29 also,” he said. “Some people won’t like it, but until these cases start coming down, we’ve got to try to get a hold of this.”
Barnett shared his thoughts on the rise in cases. He explained that he has seen many people wearing masks as recommended. However, he attributes many of the increases to vacations and large gatherings, like attending church, weddings, and funerals. 
“I highly recommend people do this for a few more weeks so we can see if we can get these numbers down,” he said. “Right now we are still climbing.”
Barnett hopes by getting a hold on the numbers, things can be reevaluated.
“Once these numbers level out, we can adjust to something different. It’s just we still need to wear masks and social distance the best we can and sanitize — the same things we’ve been preaching since March,” he said. 
The mandate’s criteria have not been changed except for one additional aspect.
The addition reads as follows:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that local education agencies, schools and institutions of higher learning within Carter County are strongly encouraged to implement their own policies requiring the use of face coverings by students, faculty, and staff on their campuses, with appropriate exemptions, and consistent with any policies issued by the Tennessee Department of Education to ensure a safe learning environment for all students and a safe working environment for all faculty and staff.
However, no such policy may prohibit a student, teacher, school employee, contractor, or a visitor from voluntarily wearing a face-covering except to the extent that such face-covering presents a safety or security risk.”
Barnett said in terms of guidelines for the county, he follows the CDC.
“I go by the CDC guidelines, they’re the M.D.’s, the doctors,” he said. “Nationwide, they know what’s going on, so I just follow their guidelines and hope we can get a hold on this.”
Barnett concluded by saying he hopes residents of Carter County will continue doing their part. 
“We’re at a crucial time right now with the numbers,” he said. “Numbers are escalating daily, and I just ask that people try to help by abiding by these rules, and hopefully we can get these numbers down and go back to normal as soon as possible.”