MPHD director encourages mask wearing but says vaccination is the 'way out' of the pandemic

Posted at 9:08 AM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 12:20:31-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After recent calls for Metro to reinstate its mask mandate, Metro Public Health Director Dr. Gill Wright has written a letter, emphasizing that vaccination against COVID-19 is our “way out” of the pandemic.

Last week, Metro Nashville Council members passed a resolution urging the Metro Public Health Department to implement an indoor mask mandate.

However, MPHD Director Dr. Gill Wright wrote a letter to the Board of Health, saying the department is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by encouraging but not requiring masks to be worn indoors.


He says Metro Public Health agrees with that recommendation, adding that masks should be worn indoors in all public spaces, in which “people mingle in close quarters for more than a few minutes.”

Wright says before COVID vaccines became widely available, masking and social distancing were our only public health intervention against the virus.

“As valuable as masks are, the only way through this pandemic is vaccination. This is made clear by President Biden’s recent six-step COVID plan,” Wright wrote in part.

However, Wright said one thing that could trigger a mandate in the future is if area hospitals are stretched to a breaking point or become overrun by an influx of COVID cases. He said currently, Davidson County is not at that point.

He also pointed to the businesses implementing their own requirements of masks, vaccines, and negative tests, saying they strongly support those businesses.

Wright’s big message: Get vaccinated. He said it's the only way out of the pandemic. “It is free. It is safe. It is readily available. And it is effective,” Wright said.