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Staff file photo / A sign promoting mask wearing is seen at the Hamilton County Courthouse in this file photo. The town of Signal Mountain is the latest local municipality to implement a mask mandate inside its buildings.

The town of Signal Mountain is now mandating masks in public spaces inside its municipal buildings.

"I think the time has come for us to really be prepared to hunker down," said Vice Mayor Susannah Murdock, who proposed the mask mandate during a town council meeting. "This variant is not going anywhere, and I think people up here are looking for leadership in that way and we need to show it."

The city of Chattanooga implemented a similar mandate in early August.

Signal Mountain employees may remove their masks while in their private workspaces in some town facilities while in their private workspaces, but the mandate applies to anyone using public spaces inside town buildings unless actively engaging in sports at the town gym.

Councilman Andrew Gardner requested that the council set a specific date to reassess the spread of COVID-19 in the community rather than issuing a mandate that would continue indefinitely.

"There are some promising things in the recent week in statistics, in terms of our positivity rate leveling off and perhaps starting to decrease," Gardner said.

The council plans to reassess the situation at its next meeting, set for Sept. 13.

Contact Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6508.

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