Editor’s note: This article is being updated as more information is made available
As of April 15, 2021, the mask mandate for Sevier County has expired. Sevier County encompasses Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
The mask mandate was initially put in place on July 7, which was meant to run July 10-Aug. 3, 2020.
The mandate was extended for several months, remaining in place until April 15, 2021.
Even though the county mandate has expired, government buildings will still require a mask for the time being.
“…public areas of Sevier County government buildings, including the courthouse, Sheriff’s office, libraries, and public works, will continue to have a face-covering requirement,” reads a statement on the county’s website.
People who visit government buildings who are visibly sick will be asked to leave. Visitors are still encouraged to social distance and follow recommended safety regulations.
Local businesses may still maintain their own mask requirements.
At the time the mandate was put in place, Mayor Larry Waters addressed the polarizing nature of the debate surrounding masks when making the original announcement over the summer.
“It is is not a political statement. Unfortunately a lot of times this has become a political statement. Sevier County is a conservative county and it continues to be so. It is not in anyway recognition of any kind of politics,” said Waters last summer.
“We’ve been consulting with healthcare officials … we have determined that ordering a face covering mandate is in the interest of Sevier County.”
Below are some frequently asked questions about the coronavirus in Sevier County:
1. Where will masks be required?
There is no longer a county-wide mask mandate as of April 15, 2021. However, masks are still required in government buildings for the time being.
Local businesses may still require masks at their own discretion.
For example, Dollywood is requiring face masks. However, they no longer require them in outdoor areas where social distancing may be maintained.
2. When does the mask mandate end?
The mask mandate expired on April 15, 2021 in Sevier County.
The mandate had been in place since July of 2020.
3. Will I have to wear a mask in Sevier County?
While there is not a county mandate at this time, private businesses may impose their own guidelines.
We at TheSmokies.com urge visitors to follow the guidance of local businesses.
Remember to be patient as some businesses are experiencing staffing shortages.
4. Can I get vaccinated in Sevier County?
The Sevier County health department has vaccinations available.
Tennesseans age 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. Currently, more than two million Tennesseans have been vaccinated.
If you have questions about the vaccine, please talk to your doctor.
Visit their website to learn more or call (865) 442-5301.
5. Can I get tested in Sevier County?
The Sevier County Health Department offers testing for the coronavirus at 719 Middle Creek Road in Sevierville.
Self-test kids and drive-thru testing are available.
Appointments are not necessary. For more information, click here.
Current cases of coronavirus in Sevier County
According to the Sevier County website, as of April 16, 2021, in Sevier County there are currently:
- 13,116 confirmed and probable cases
- 12,755 recoveries
- 187 active cases
- 276 hospitalizations
- 174 deaths
Most places of business around the Smoky Mountains have been either partially or fully reopened.
For business owners, signs about safety requirements have been made available for download on the Sevier County website.
If you are planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains, please follow state and local guidelines.
How mask mandates impacted Sevier County’s health and economy
According to a previous extension, featured in Executive Order No. 39, it is believed that mask compliance resulted in reductions of case counts and positivity rates last summer.
The mandate also indicated that this reduction allowed Sevier County to reopen safely while recovering a significant amount of tourism revenue.