Cities around the country are beginning to mandate masks, but Nashville’s top officials are satisfied with simply recommending facial coverings.
“We believe strongly that it’s important to mandate something that we can enforce,” says Dr. Michael Caldwell, director of the Metro Nashville Health Department.
As part of an ongoing health department order, the city continues to require that employees wear masks when they interact with each other or with the public, and several more establishments were cited Monday for non-compliance.
They also have to post signage recommending masks for patrons. And everyone is required to wear facial coverings upon entering government buildings.
But Caldwell says asking more of all residents has to be balanced with what they’ll put up with.
“It’s important to remember that we want to be respectful of everybody, to reduce tensions in our community,” he says.
Last week, the Memphis city council voted to require masks for anyone entering a business, though restaurants and bars are excluded. A state lawmaker has requested an opinion from the Tennessee Attorney General on the ordinance’s legality.
As Arizona deals with a spike in coronavirus cases, the Phoenix city council voted Friday to mandate mask wearing anytime residents leave their homes. As for enforcement, the city’s police chief tells KJZZ that officers will simply hand un-masked residents a flyer and walk away.
The Metro Council in Nashville is considering an ordinance to mandate facial coverings, but it remains worker-centric in its current form.