Nashville Public Health Order Mandating Masks Goes Into Effect

The Metro Public Health Department order mandating masks or face coverings is in effect as of Monday, June 29. The mandate comes as Nashville and Tennessee have seen a recent increase in COVID-19 cases. Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions supports the use of masks to help reduce the spread of the virus, and we encourage all businesses to follow the Metro Public Health Department guidelines.

“Wearing a mask, diligent hand hygiene and physical distancing are still our best tools to battle the spread of the virus,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The early and decisive action by the Board of Health and Mayor Cooper to issue this mandate will help prevent our local hospitals from experiencing the high caseloads we are seeing in the South in areas of Alabama, Florida, and Texas, help us keep our economy open, and save lives.”

What does the order mean for your business? The order requires masks/face coverings be worn when in indoor and outdoor public spaces.

 Masks are not required in the following settings and circumstances:

  • By any child aged 12 years or younger. Any child younger than two years old must not wear a face covering because of risk of suffocation. 
  • In outdoor public spaces unless maintaining a physical distance of six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible;
  • While engaged in outdoor work or recreation, such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, unless maintaining a physical distance of six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible;
  • By those who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering. No person declining to wear a face covering because of a medical condition shall be required to produce verifying medical documentation;
  • By those working alone in separate office spaces or in non-public workplaces that have more than adequate area for social distancing based on the size of and number of people in the space (either indoors or outdoors). Such persons must be prepared to wear a face covering when interacting with others in groups of 6 or more persons or in groups of any size where social distancing of more than six (6) feet cannot be consistently maintained;
  • When wearing a face covering poses a safety risk or security risk. "Safety risk" includes, but is not limited to, where wearing a face covering may pose a risk to persons working on ladders or at height, wearing other respiratory protection, engaging in heavy physical exertion, operating heavy equipment, or operating in an environment where a face covering hinders communications. “Security risk” includes, but is not limited to, an activity or transaction where establishing the identity of the customer or employee is important. However, employers are encouraged to structure work to promote social distancing and limit close contact as much as possible within workplaces where Face Coverings may pose such risks; and
  • When eating or drinking in public at a restaurant, bar, or other food or beverage establishment.

The full public health order may be accessed here. Thank you for playing your part to keep Nashville safe!