Nashville’s mask mandate takes effect at midnight, according to the order signed Sunday afternoon by chief medical director Michael Caldwell. The requirement applies both inside and outside in public places, and violations are punishable with civil and criminal penalties, up to a class C misdemeanor.
Who is exempt?
- Children 12 and younger
- Those who cannot “medically tolerate” a face covering (they are not required to show proof of a condition)
- People working alone in a separated office space
Places that remain mask-free:
- Anyone’s home
- Vehicles (except public transportation, taxis and ride-hailing services)
- Schools, from kindergarten through higher education
- Houses of worship
- State-controlled buildings
Circumstances that are exempt:
- When wearing a face covering could pose a safety risk, like climbing a ladder or during heavy physical exertion
- When identification is needed for a transaction
- Swimming, walking, hiking, biking or running
- While outdoors in public, but maintaining 6 feet of distance from non-household members
While the order says violations can result in penalties, the enforcement will not officially begin until July 3.
On Friday, members of the Metro Board of Health were in a rush to impose the mask requirement and suggested they could amend the order later, if needed.
Aside from the exemptions, the order says face coverings have to be worn “at all times by members of the public,” specifically including “common areas” in commercial and residential buildings. Property managers will be expected to enforce the requirement.
The order, written since Friday afternoon, cites Saturday’s count of 350 newly confirmed cases in Nashville as a major reason to impose a mask mandate and slow the spread of the virus.
Correction: This post originally gave the wrong age of children who receive a blanket exemption from the mask requirement. It is those 12 and under.