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As the number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee continues to rise, a number of the largest retailers in the country are beginning to require customers to wear face masks.

Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kroger’s, Target, Kohl’s, Home Depot, Walgreens and CVS are among the national chains announcing mandates for customers to wear masks.

“We know that face covers can play a vital role in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Kevin Ban, Walgreens chief medical officer, in a press statement. “As cases continue to rise in many parts of the country, it’s critical we, as businesses and members of the community, do everything we can to support recommendations of health officials, both locally and nationally.”

This will include Walgreens’ Hartsville location. While none of the other chains listed are in Trousdale County, they are in neighboring areas that draw many local consumers to shop there.

Additionally, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto signed an executive order on July 17 requiring residents to wear face masks in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The order took effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday and remains in place until midnight on Aug. 3. There are several exceptions to Hutto’s mandate, including children ages 12 and under, those with underlying medical or physical conditions complicated by masks or those carrying out strenuous physical activity.

“This decision has not been made in haste nor was it a decision to be made by the Wilson County Commission,” Hutto said in a press release announcing the order. “The authority has been given solely to county mayors by Gov. Lee.”

Lee issued an executive order earlier this month giving county mayors in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties the authority to put mask mandates into place.

Trousdale County Mayor Stephen Chambers previously told The Vidette he had no plans to issue such a mandate here. As of Monday, Chambers said that had not changed.

On Monday, the Trousdale County Administration Building reopened to the public after having temporarily closed last week.

As of Sunday there had been 1,543 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in Trousdale County, with six deaths. Of those cases, 91 were considered currently active. The Tennessee Department of Health tallies active cases by subtracting the number of recovered from total cases.

While the initial surge of cases in Trousdale County was at the Hartsville prison, the Tennessee Department of Correction reported no cases at Trousdale Turner as of July 16.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory Contributing: Ethan Steinquest, Lebanon Democrat; Staff reports

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