The Metro Nashville Police Department issued its first citation for a mask violation on Lower Broadway on Wednesday night. They cited and arrested a 61-year-old Black homeless man, promoting immediate criticism. The charge was later dropped.
Citations are coming for people in Nashville who don’t follow the city’s mask mandate, says the city’s top police officials. They met with Metro Council members Wednesday afternoon and committed to stricter enforcement.
In a photo posted to Twitter this weekend, a giant electronic sign on Lower Broadway urges passers-by: “Don’t share our air” in bright orange letters. Right beside it, a maskless group poses for selfies.
Rutherford County Schools will require masks for everyone inside buildings in the coming year after a unanimous school board vote Tuesday. Yet whether in-person classes will even happen is still undetermined.
The Wilson County Board of Education voted to reject a mask mandate at a meeting on Thursday evening. The district is one of the many trying to figure out how to reopen safely.
Nashville police officers began enforcing the city’s mask mandate on Wednesday with a focus on warning people instead of issuing fines in the Lower Broadway tourism area.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order late Friday that allows local governments across the state to mandate masks to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As cases of the coronavirus climb statewide, local leaders across Tennessee are wrestling with how to reduce the spread, and reacting to limitations that prevent them from mandating masks like in Nashville.
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.
The Metro Board of Health voted unanimously this afternoon to require a face covering in public. The specific rules will be drafted in the next 48 hours and likely implemented by Monday.