NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Police said they will begin enforcing Davidson County's mask mandate on Wednesday, with a focus on the Lower Broadway area.
In Metro Nashville, it is required to wear a mask when in public, with a few exceptions.
Downtown Nashville has consistently been a hotspot in the county for the spread of COVID-19 in the last few weeks.
Police have been passing out pamphlets to those seen without a mask in public since June 29. The educational phase of the mask requirement ended on July 3 when police began enforcing the mandate. Now, the department said they will turn their focus to downtown.
The department said teams of school resource officers will be assigned to both sides of Broadway in shifts from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Anyone who does not comply with the mask mandate will be given a civil citation which could result in a $50 fine. Police said anyone who refuses the civil citation is subject to a misdemeanor citation.
Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson went out to Broadway Wednesday afternoon to check on the progress of enforcing the mask mandate. He confirmed that his officers will issue more severe penalties if people refuse to cooperate. "I think just absolute refusal and then it’s going to be at the officer’s discretion," said Chief Anderson.
Most of the tourists NewsChannel 5 spoke to didn't know about the rule. A few weren't happy about it, but complied anyway. "I don’t believe that you should have to wear it outside," said a man named Larry, who was traveling from the Chicago area.
One family from Central Missouri said they rather leave than comply. "[To] come here like this, have to worry about the people treating you like this. We’re not coming back," said one member of the visiting family.
William Grant is a rare local that spends a lot of time on Broadway because of his job as a delivery driver. He believes enforcement will bring improvement. "It should have been probably mandatory as soon as our first case numbers started to spike back in March," said Grant.
He hopes this is a sign that we're taking things seriously. "There’s no excuse right now," said Grant.
During the day, officers on Broadway issued no citations, gave 170 verbal warnings and handed out 37 educational pamphlets.