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Proposed Davidson County indoor mask mandate dies without discussion

council vote
Posted at 10:00 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 00:10:14-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The latest effort to require masks in public indoor spaces in Davidson County ended in just a matter of seconds.

Metro Council Member Joy Styles sponsored two pieces of legislation that called on the Metro Public Health Department to bring back mask requirements indoors and enforce those requirements. However, since both items were late additions to the Metro Council agenda, rules state if two council members object to the idea, it will not be discussed. Four council members objected to the proposal, so it died without discussion.

After the meeting, Council Member Styles said the outcome was disappointing.

"We literally have wasted time where people can get sicker, and others can die because we are making this a political debate," said Styles.

The proposed mask mandate would have been similar to what was in effect earlier in the pandemic, by requiring masks inside businesses, and commercial venues. Businesses would need to post signs about the mask requirements at entrances, and employees would be required to wear masks when interacting with customers and other people. The policy change would have applied to people who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The proposed legislation stated that masks would not be required in places of worship, outdoors, or while eating or drinking at restaurants. Children under two years old, and those who can't wear masks for medical reasons would have been exempt from the regulation.

At the beginning of the council meeting, two doctors addressed council members during the public comment period and encouraged council members to implement an indoor mask mandate.

"We need everyone to wear a mask indoors vaccinated or not everywhere to slow the spread of the virus," said one doctor.

"You as city leaders should also know that mask mandates work, and with a mask mandate you can save lives," added another.

Council Member Styles said the debate on the issue isn't over yet. She intended to file the legislation again and bring it back at the Sept. 7 council meeting. She said all paperwork would be filed in advance, so the legislation would follow normal voting and discussion protocols.