Knoxville residents weigh in on Memphis, Nashville mask mandates

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After health officials moved to enforce new mandatory mask declarations in Memphis and in Nashville, residents of Knoxville are weighing in on whether or not they would be okay if similar rules were enforced in Knox County.

Courtney Beard says she thinks it would be a wise decision.

“I think it would help curtail the number of cases dramatically. It’s a very small gesture we can do that would reduce cases and help promote safety for everyone,” Beard said.

But Brian Helget says he likes having the freedom to choose when he wears a mask.

“I’d still rather it be somewhat of a choice depending on where I’m at,” Helget said.

Lonnie Empey, is visiting Knoxville from Nevada, a state that currently has a mask mandate in place. He says does not agree with it because he thinks masks give a false sense of security.

“One of the things we enjoy about coming to Tennessee is we don’t have to wear the mask,” Empey said.

Empey is also a physician and thinks there are other measures that can be taken to prevent or stop the spread of the virus.

“I think social distancing helps, I think washing your hands is absolutely imperative to stopping any infection including the flu,” Empey said.

For now, in Knox County, masks are still optional.

But with case numbers rising across the state, it begs the question, could Knox County see a similar mandate in the future?

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