Judge grants temporary restraining order against Gov. Lee’s opt-out mask order


Governor-elect Bill Lee speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. Lee defeated Democrat Karl Dean in the gubernatorial race Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Shelby County judge has granted a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order that allows parents to opt their children out of mask mandates issued by their schools.

The judge’s ruling means the governor cannot enforce Executive Order No. 84 in Shelby County and cannot allow Shelby County parents to opt their children out of mask mandates. The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until September 17.

This ruling comes after Lee was sued by two Shelby County families who claim the executive order violated the American With Disabilities Act. Shelby County was also named as a defendant in the suit.

The ruling also orders Shelby County to enforce its most recent mask mandate without an exception for the opt-out order. Shelby County issued a new mask mandate in August, ordering everyone over the age of 2 to wear masks while indoors in public settings, regardless of vaccination status.

Shelby County also filed suit against Lee regarding the opt-out order in August. That lawsuit claims the governor’s executive order violates the 14th amendment, saying children not eligible to be vaccinated don’t have a way to protect themselves against COVID exposure without a mask.

The court will hold another hearing on September 9.

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