By Charlotte Underwood
JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – WLAF caught up with Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton Monday night regarding the governor’s executive order #54, which grants county mayor’s in 89 counties the authority to issue local mask requirements in the event of a significant rise in COVID-19 cases. According to Morton, he is concerned about the rise in numbers of the virus locally, but “doesn’t see a mandatory mask order for Campbell County under the current conditions.” Morton said the county continues to be in consultation with the health department every day and will continue to do so. He said as far as the executive order went, he was not sure of the level of authority it grants local government.  “Executive order 54 just got posted to the Secretary of State’s website. I have been in consultation today with the Regents of Mayors to try to determine really what authority there is there; but with 16 active cases, that’s a significant increase that the health department had advised us was coming,” Morton said, adding that the “real measuring stick” was hospital and testing capacity.  “We can meet those, and while I am concerned with the increase I don’t see a mandatory mask requirement right now, but it is still advised by health officials to wear a mask,” Morton said.

The county mayor also said he was looking into the possibility of having a designated day requesting the public to wear masks “just for the sake of the folks who have compromised immunity so they can have a day planned to go grocery shopping or to the building supply store.” He said he plans to discuss it with the health department soon. “It’s not likely that I will mandate it, but I would ask for Campbell County’s cooperation for the sake of those who have compromised immunity so that they feel like we’re supporting them, and they’re supporting us by opening the economy and assuming the risk as well. But I don’t see a mask mandate under current conditions. We will remain in prayer for everyone who is facing this virus – it’s deadly when you have a compromised immune system.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/07/2020-6AM)