FRANKLIN, TENN. (WSMV) - With rising COVID-19 case numbers around Tennessee, several Mid State county mayors reissued mask mandates to slow the spread of the virus.
When Williamson County’s mayor first lifted their mask mandate in August, it was because residents said they would be responsible for continuing to wear a mask. Virus case numbers, however, are rising, prompting the county to be included in those reissuing the mandates.
The move drew criticism from some launching protests on Saturday including in Downtown Franklin where protesters gather outside the City Hall.
“If you want to give a county mayor the authority to issue a mask mandate then you have to go through a legislative process,” organizers could be heard over a speaker.
County Mayor Rogers Anderson said rising case numbers put operation of businesses, schools and government services in jeopardy.
“I think people are afraid,” said protester Amanda Fields who is against a mask mandate.
Protesters did not wear masks of their own and held signs expressing they felt masks put their rights in jeopardy.
“They just don’t know their constitutional rights. People we gotta read and know what we believe in and why we believe in it and that's the sad truth,” said Fields.
While NEWS4 spoke with Fields, a car appearing against the protest drove nearby honking its horn to disturb the gathering.
More protesters, in favour of a mask mandate, began gathering across the street.
NEWS4 spoke with others watching nearby who tell us they still think others should wear a mask for safety.
“I'm kind of disappointed in the folks doing this. I think it sends a bad message,” said observer Roger Abramson. “Honestly wearing a mask is about the most minimum thing you can do. its really not that big a deal.”
“We wanted to come together to show support for unconstitutional rights that are being taken away from us,” said Fields.
The county mayor said in his declaration, he plans to keep the mask mandate through the end of the year.