The masks are coming off after all in Nashville — for those who are vaccinated.
The latest shift in pandemic guidance came Thursday, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks.
UPDATE: If you are fully vaccinated against #COVID19, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, incl. local business and workplace guidance. More: https://t.co/FJMon7WlFO
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 13, 2021
Initially, the Metro Public Health Department released a statement saying the local mask mandate would stay, citing the city’s and the state’s relatively low vaccination rate. But, just a few hours later, Nashville health officials released a statement saying the mandate would be lifting when it expires on Friday.
“The Board Chair and the Director of Health, and Metro Public Health Department epidemiologists met following this afternoon’s Board meeting to further evaluate the new recommendations regarding mask usage that were issued by the CDC just prior to the Board of Health meeting. After reviewing further, a decision was to end the Public Health indoor mask order.”
The health department says it’s still strongly recommending mask wearing for unvaccinated people — in crowds, indoors and when unable to socially distance. Individual businesses, meanwhile, retain the right to set their own masking requirements within their establishments.
Less than half of Davidson County residents are vaccinated, and the state overall is lagging the national average. The health department just began vaccinating 12- to 15- year-olds on Thursday, meaning even the first in line won’t be fully vaccinated for another five weeks.
Update: This post has been revised to reflect MPHD’s decision to end the mask mandate, first announced late Thursday. The city now says the mask order will expire Friday, May 14.