NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Last Friday, the Metro Nashville Public Health Department dropped the outdoor mask mandate, but that won't necessarily impact Music City's outdoor sports venues.
Dr. Alex Jahangir, Chairman of Metro's COVID-19 Task Force, says any business has the right to adopt their own mask policies for outdoor use, including sports teams and leagues. "Each individual business has the right to do what they would feel they should, so I’m going to defer to them but as far as the city ordinance, it’s strongly recommended you wear it outside but it’s not mandated anymore," he said.
That opens up the door for each individual team to adopt their own masking policies.
Nashville SC's home opener at Nissan Stadium is Saturday, April 17. Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre tells NewsChannel 5 that the club will require masks at their game this season, to remain in compliance with MLS policies.
Dr. Jahangir says fans will have to abide by their rules. "If the Nashville Soccer Club and MLS say wear a mask, then it’s their right to do so and it is right to not to serve people who choose not to," said Dr. Jahangir.
The Nashville Sounds already know how they'll handle COVID-19 protocols when they begin their season in May. "For Sounds games, as we sit here today, the plan will be masks will be required," said Doug Scopel, Vice President of Operations for the Nashville Sounds.
As a Minor League team, the Nashville Sounds are subject to the rules of their governing body -- Major League Baseball. "As of right now, regardless of what your local jurisdiction requirements are, they are requiring all of us to have masks for anyone two and up in our ballparks," said Scopel.
Scopel says if the MLB adjusts their rules, they'll re-evaluate their policies at First Horizons Park. In the meantime, the organization is thrilled to be hosting baseball again for the first time since 2019. "It’s been 500+ days since we’ve had a baseball game in our ballpark," said Scopel. "You’re still going to hear the crack of the bat, still see the mascot, still going to be able to enjoy an ice cream cone on a fun evening at the ballpark."
It's far too early to know what the two-tone blue or the NFL will decide about spectators, but in Buffalo, NY, the county executive has already announced that only vaccinated fans will be allowed inside their stadium. So far, there's no indication the Tennessee Titans or area leaders are considering a similar rule.