Metro health officials clear the air on mask recommendations from CDC

Posted at 8:35 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 21:36:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Masks are no longer mandatory as part of a public health mandate in Nashville, but some worry the message may have unintended consequences.

It’s been one of the biggest hurdles over the past few days as Metro Public Health scrambled to keep up with the latest CDC guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks indoors or worry about being in close quarters with others.

The announcement came just one day before Metro eased their remaining COVID restrictions, which at the time did not include easing mask requirements. Metro Public Health chooses to follow the suggestions by the CDC. This meant for some that Nashville was back to normal.

Dr. James Hildreth, President of Meharry Medical College says we’re still a long way from herd immunity, so those who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks. He emphasized how this especially pertained to the vulnerable with pre-existing conditions. Brian Todd of Metro Public Health says they’re working to make this message more clear but in the meantime vaccinations are their priority.

“We’re still recommending masks, but since January we’ve been focusing a lot of attention and will continue to focus a lot of attention on vaccinations. That’s something that along with wearing a mask, provides that protection,” Todd said.

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Not everyone plans to follow along with relaxed mask guidelines from Metro Nashville and the CDC.

Businesses still reserve the right to enforce a mask mandate of their own and from what we saw people continued to carry their masks. Every person we met on Broadway Monday afternoon, disclosed that they were vaccinated. Which you have to consider could be a skewed number considering most are visiting from other cities. With vaccines now more readily available, some may have waited to get vaccinated before they resumed travel.

In Davidson County, 38 percent of people were vaccinated, while 44.5 percent have had at least one shot. Some say they only now wear the mask when a business tells them it’s necessary.