Nashville’s mask mandate enforcement has begun

Posted at 6:37 AM, Jul 03, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Beginning Friday, anyone who doesn’t follow the mask mandate in Davidson County could face a penalty.

The Metro Department of Health’s order requiring facial coverings/masks to be worn in indoor and outdoor public spaces went into effect this week.

Up to this point, Metro Police officers have been told only to educate the public about the mandate. However, according to the order, if you violate it now, you could face a civil or criminal penalty, including a Class C Misdemeanor and a fine up to $50.

Friday afternoon, NewsChannel 5 went down to Lower Broadway to see if the order was being strictly enforced. We found only a fraction of tourists and patrons were actually wearing a mask.

Bob Fairweather, who traveled this weekend to Nashville from his native South Carolina, heard enforcement is still not a huge component. "We asked the [Metro Police] officer, why isn’t everyone wearing their masks? He says it’s mandatory but they’re not enforcing it. So why even say it’s mandatory? If you’re not going to enforce it, then don’t say it’s mandatory to wear a mask," said Fairweather.

Wil Helmick, also a tourist, says a mandate is a little harsh but he understands the move. "With cases going up, you’ve gotta do what you’ve got to do to protect the community," said Helmick.

The order also requires businesses to post signage at their entrances stating all employees, customers and visitors must wear masks.

On Thursday, Mayor John Cooper announced the city would revert to a modified Phase Two plan after a surge of COVID-19 cases. The city also canceled its July 4th fireworks.

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Read more: Nashville's mask mandate now in effect; here's what you need to know