Governor Lee extends State of Emergency
Nashville requires facemasks in public spaces

With increased infection rates, the Metro Board of Health is mandating face coverings be worn in public.

Due to concerns of the rising cases of COVID-19, Gov. Bill Lee has signed Executive Order No. 50 to extend the State of Emergency related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to August 29. The order allows the continued suspension of various laws and regulations and other measures in these orders to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19 through regulatory flexibility, promoting social distancing and avoidance of large gatherings, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Gov. Lee also signed Executive Order Nos. 51 and 52, which extend provisions that allow for electronic government meetings subject to transparency safeguards and remote notarization and witnessing of documents, respectively, to August 29.

Rep. Bob Freeman says he feels that the governor’s order does not go far enough.

“As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Davidson County, and across Tennessee, it’s time for local and state leaders to acknowledge the science behind the spread, and call for a mandatory use of facial coverings in public,” he said.

“Today some individuals are adhering to health guidelines, while others are reverting back to pre-pandemic lifestyles, which is a main driver behind the spread. For years, businesses have had a policy of no shoes, no shirt, and no service. Adding facial coverings to the list during a global pandemic would not be out of line with basic health guidelines.”

Freeman is leading a Davidson County delegation that is calling on all local and state leaders to require facial coverings in businesses and public spaces where appropriate social distancing is not possible.

Davidson County agrees with Freeman, implementing new rules on Monday requiring masks in many indoor and outdoor public spaces.

In an emergency meeting called by the mayor, the Metro Board of Health voted Friday to require anyone out in the public in Davidson County to wear face coverings or masks.

“We need to do all we can to save the lives of Nashvillians,” Dr. Alex Jahangir, chairman of the Metro Board of Health said.

The meeting was called after a spike in new COVID-19 cases.

“Short of shutting down the economy again, this is the only tool we have and I think that we would all like to see the economy functioning and I have to believe that wearing a face mask is a small price to pay for that,” David Frederick, a board member said.

In order to help with compliance, MNPD officers will issue printed advisories to be given to persons they encounter who are not in compliance with the Health Department’s new order.