Gov. Bill Lee’s economic recovery group developed the Tennessee Strong mask movement, partnering with more than 30 flagship brands to distribute nearly 300,000 free or low-cost cloth face coverings at a projected value of more than $3 million, across the state.
State officials said residents can stay safe while wearing brands synonymous with Tennessee from the worlds of sports, education and business.
“Tennesseans have stepped up to do their part and keep their neighbors safe throughout this health crisis,” said Mark Ezell, director of the economic recovery group. “The more we can encourage masks and make them fun, the better we can mitigate the spread of the COVID-19. These businesses are the heart and soul of Tennessee, and we’re grateful to them for helping our citizens stay healthy and have a little fun sporting their favorite brands while they’re at it.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new guidance for public events and gatherings, strongly encouraging wearing masks to lower the risk of exposure and reduce the spread of COVID-19. As Tennessee safely continues to reopen the economy and residents and travelers alike move about the state, masks have become an important health accessory.
“We are so appreciative of Governor Lee and Commissioner Ezell to include the Nashville Predators in promoting the use of masks so Smashville can continue to open in the safest possible manner,” said Nashville Predators president and CEO Sean Henry. “By creating Smashville Strong and Predator-themed masks, we can all show our passion for the Preds while reinforcing the use of face coverings as we work to re-launch the economy and local businesses.”
Each business will distribute branded cloth face coverings at little to no cost across their own channels or with the help of the state of Tennessee, which could include employees, fans or nonprofit partnerships. Companies can visit tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/mask-movement for more information.
Participating brands include Amazon, Austin Peay State University, Belmont University, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Bridgestone,
Bristol Motor Speedway, Chevrolet, East Tennessee State University, FedEx Express, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville of Sevier County, Gibson Brands, Graceland, Jack Daniel’s, Lipscomb University, Memphis Grizzlies, Middle Tennessee State University, Nashville Predators, Nashville SC, Ryman Hospitality Properties, SomethingInked, Tennessee Bankers Association, Tennessee Farm Bureau Health Plans, Tennessee Tech University, Tennessee Titans, Tractor Supply Co., TriStar Health, Union University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee, Unum Group, Vanderbilt University and Volkswagen Chattanooga.
Tennessee began a phased reopening under the Tennessee Pledge, a plan to help Tennesseans get back to work safely and reboot the economy. Restaurants resumed business with limited capacity April 27, quickly followed by a number of additional industries that enabled tens of thousands of Tennesseans to return to work safely.
Lee established the economic recovery group, a joint effort between state departments, members of the legislature and leaders from the private sector to build guidance to safely reboot Tennessee’s economy.