Lebanon leaders are now requiring masks and facial coverings for city employees and visitors inside all city buildings and during certain work-related activities.

The Lebanon City Council approved the facial covering requirement after a recent COVID-19 outbreak at Lebanon City Hall.

“Recently, HR staff have received a number reports from employees that they’ve been required to attend meetings where members of the public were not wearing masks into city meetings and that some fellow employees are not consistently wearing masks in meetings and in common areas,” Lebanon Human Resources Director Sylvia Reichle said.

Reichle said the department previously issued guidance on mask wearing to all department heads, which was communicated to all city employees.

“Although the city cannot entirely protect city employees from COVID-19, and everyone takes risks in their personal lives with vacations, grocery shopping and visiting friends and family, we can improve the safety of our work environment by requiring consistent mask usage of employees and by the public who visits city facilities,” Reichle said.

Masks and facial coverings are required to be worn by members of the public entering any city facility; employees at all times when interacting with the public, interacting with other employees, in common employee spaces, riding in a vehicle with other employees and attending meetings.

Lebanon City Hall closed to the public on Sept. 28 after eight employees tested positive for COVID-19, and Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 15.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto allowed a county-wide mask mandate to expire last month, citing a decrease in the average number of COVID-19 cases in the county.

Hutto said when Wilson County’s first mask mandate went into place July 17, the county’s 14-day average for new COVID-19 cases was 40.4 per day, which fell to 40.1 cases per day by July 31.

The county’s 14-day average decreased to 24.1 cases per day by Aug. 28 and dropped to 22.1 cases per day average by Sept. 25.

As of Monday, Wilson County had 4,074 positive cases of COVID-19 and 52 deaths.

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