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Mask Mandate - Clarification

July 10, 2020 

Dear Pigeon Forge Residents: 

In our ongoing effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 in our community, Sevier County Executive Order 23 was implemented earlier today (Friday, July 10) at 12:01 a.m., requiring all residents, employees and visitors to wear masks in public places, save for 13 exemptions.

Several questions have arisen regarding the exemptions, specifically concerning situations where masks are required. To better explain these circumstances, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters has issued clarifications to the exemptions, and you can read them here.

Please know that Individuals and businesses will have unique situations in which they must use their best judgement in complying with Executive Order 23. This judgement should be based on the stated intent and spirit of Executive Order 23 which is to ensure that the maximum number of residents, employees, and visitors within Sevier County who are older than twelve (12) years of age wear face coverings while indoors whenever they are within six (6) feet of any person other than a family member.

We understand the challenges this measure brings, but we know this is a necessary step to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Sevier County and to keep our local businesses open and our residents employed. Your continued commitment to our local economy and community safety is much needed at this time. 

City of Pigeon Forge 

Mask Mandate - FAQ

Why are face coverings mandatory in Pigeon Forge?
Face coverings are now required in Sevier County to continue to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus and help protect our residents, employees and visitors. 

When does this go in effect and how long does it last?
Face coverings are required as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 10. The current order is set to expire on August 3, depending on how successful we are in slowing the spread of the disease before that time. 

Where do I have to wear a mask?
Face coverings are now required in all public places except when you are outdoors. You can read more here about how this applies to you.

Is this mandate because Covid-19 is really bad in Sevier County?
The current executive order requiring face coverings is in response to the continued effort to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Sevier County.

Is Sevier County a hotspot?
Health department officials are monitoring a recent increase in newly diagnosed cases.

Are Sevierville and Gatlinburg requiring face coverings as well?
Yes, Sevierville and Gatlinburg are included in the county-wide executive order requiring face coverings. 

Why did it take the city this long to require face coverings?
Sevier County had to wait until our governor issued a mandate giving our local officials the authority to make this decision. Until then, it was at the direction of our health department. 

Will a face covering actually protect me from Covid-19?
Face coverings have been proven to significantly slow the spread of person to person transmission of the Covid-19 virus. The Centers for Disease Control and the State of Tennessee strongly recommend everyone wear face coverings when in public for this reason. 

Can a business make me wear a mask?
Businesses should have signs posted at their entrance indicating that all patrons must wear a mask. Individual businesses may require a mask and additional measures, such as temperature checks, to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Are there any consequences for not wearing a face covering?
We want everyone to wear a mask because it is the right thing to do. Law enforcement may use reasonable care to address willful failure to wear a face covering. Violators of this order may be subject to penalties as allowed by law. First time offenders of this order be given a warning and educated on the purpose of such order which is to increase the wearing of face coverings to protect the health of residents, visitors, and employees and to ensure the state does not take further measures to disrupt our local businesses and economy.

What can I use if I don’t have a mask?
If you don’t have a face mask, you can get a free mask at the Sevier County Health Department. Additionally, bandanas and other common items may be used as face coverings. Please visit the CDC website to learn more. 

Who has to wear a face covering?
In Sevier county, everyone is required to wear a face covering in public unless they fall into a predetermined exemption category outlined in the executive order. The full list of exemptions can be found here.

Do kids have to wear face coverings?
A child 12 years of age or younger is not required to wear a face covering. 

What if I can’t wear a face covering because of a health condition?
Everyone is encouraged to wear a face covering. Someone who has trouble breathing due to an underlying health condition or another bona fide medical or health-related reason are exempt from wearing a face covering. 

Do I have to wear a face covering in restaurants?
Face coverings are required in restaurants unless a patron is actively eating or drinking.

Do I have to wear face coverings in the national park?
You aren’t required to wear a face covering in the national park; however, we encourage you to maintain social distance between you and others, be aware of large crowds, and wash your hands frequently.

Can my employer make me wear a mask?
Yes, your employer can require you to wear a face covering while on company property. This includes customer-facing employees, back-of-house employees and employees in breakrooms and employee-only spaces. 

Will the city tell visitors to wear masks before they arrive?
Pigeon Forge will continue to encourage visitors to travel responsibly and wear face coverings while in Sevier County. 

Why do we keep encouraging visitation when Sevier county is considered a hot spot?
We want to keep our local businesses open so that our residents have jobs. If we abide by the guidelines of the CDC and Tennessee Pledge, we feel our businesses can operate safely for residents, employees and visitors.