Dear Editor,

It was a big disappointment to me when Mayor Ottinger chose not to mandate masks in public places for Cocke County.

She said “I do not have the right to mandate an individual’s decision regarding their health.”

She also said “It’s an over reach of authority from the government and an individual’s health should be left up to them.”

So then why did the Tennessee Supreme Court issue an order requiring masks be work in courthouses to keep the public, court staff and judiciary safe?

Chief Justice Jeff Bivins also said “This is consistent with directives from the Centers for Disease Control, the Tennessee Department of Health, and several Tennessee county mayors.”

Mayor Ottinger said “I strongly encourage and respectfully ask that everyone who can to please wear a mask in public.”

I’m sorry, that’s just not good enough. I canceled a doctors appointment because without a government mandate they couldn’t require masks be worn.

Also some restaurants wouldn’t require them without a government mandate, not even for their employees.

A friend was at an urgent care not long ago, and there was one teenager who was coughing and another with a fever, and guess what?

No one was wearing a mask; not even the staff because there wasn’t a government mandate.

COVID-19 isn’t going away by itself. So people, grow up and do the right thing — wear a mask in public, stay six feet apart and wash your hands.

Thank you,

Maxine Cuellar

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