NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A new order requiring masks or face coverings in public in Nashville went into effect Monday.
Nashville's Metropolitan Board of Health voted on the order after seeing recent increases in COVID-19 cases in both the city and state. The decision, health officials said, was an alternative to going back to previous phases of reopening.
The order requires masks to be worn when in indoor or outdoor public spaces unless the person is aged 12 or younger or has a medical condition with proper documentation.
Masks are also not required if a person is working alone in an office space or outside with more than six feet of space between them and a person who is not in their household. They are not required in schools or places of worship, though both should be complying with the state's social distancing guidelines.
People can also forgo masks in instances where face masks pose a "safety risk or security risk." The city considers operating heavy equipment, working on ladders or wearing other respiratory protection as safety risks, while security risks are events when establishing a person's identity is required.
Board members say their goal is to continue protecting the public while keeping the economy open.
“So I think that we see that this is based on the science that we see this is keeping the pandemic a bit more under control in Asia and in Europe and I think, short of shutting the economy down again, this is the only tool we have and I think that we all like to see the economy functioning and I have to believe that wearing a face mask is a small price to pay for that,” David A. Frederick with the Metro Board of Health said to affiliate WKRN.
Anyone found in violation of the order after July 3 can be cited with a Class C misdemeanor.