NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Council members passed a resolution urging the Metro Public Health Department to implement an indoor mask mandate.
The vote was the first of three readings the council will need to vote on.
Council Member Joy Styles filed the resolution which would apply to public indoor spaces. It would include people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Styles spoke before the vote and said masks are necessary to protect the health and safety of Nashville residents as COVID cases continue to rise. She said it is important for council members to "focus on people, not politics."
She also pointed to the high transmission rates of COVID-19, hospital admissions being up, and the high number of people unvaccinated as the reason for this indoor mask mandate.
The resolution was approved after minimal discussion. A total of 21 council members voted for the resolution, 9 voted against it, and 5 abstained from voting.
Council Member Styles also sponsored an ordinance that would require masks to be worn by all individuals in public spaces. It was approved on the first of three votes required before it goes into effect. The ordinance defines what a proper mask is, and states that violators could face a $50 fine.
The next day, the Metro Public Health Department released the following statement regarding the resolution:
"We appreciate the Metro Council’s encouragement. We routinely monitor the status of COVID in the community as well as the guidance from CDC. At this point, the CDC strongly recommends the wearing of masks indoors, as do we here at MPHD. The pathway to ending the pandemic is to improve our vaccination rates. Vaccine is free and readily available at pharmacies, healthcare systems, walk-in clinics, Metro’s two drive-thru centers, and the Health Department’s pop-up clinics."