Metro PD to issue citations to anyone who defies mask mandate

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Police said they will issue citations to anyone who defies Metro Public Health orders by not wearing masks.

The news comes after weeks of criticism aimed at Nashville leaders for not ticketing crowds of maskless people partying downtown. Metro Police have been increasing their presence in the entertainment district, but until now they have only issued verbal warnings to people disobeying the health order.

During a special called meeting with the Metro Council Public Safety Committee on Monday, the police department said more officers will be on lower Broadway this weekend and they’ve been given clear orders to cite anyone who refuses to mask up.

“I want to make it clear to everyone on the meeting, it has been made abundantly clear to them that unless someone has a legitimate exception to the mask ordinance, the order by the health department, that they are to be issued citations,” said MNPD Captain David Leavitt.

This also comes as a party in East Nashville this past weekend is now under criminal investigation after many partygoers were seen on videos posted to social media not wearing masks or abiding by social distancing measures.

Metro Police said officers will make arrests if people are uncooperative this weekend.

MNPD released a statement Wednesday evening further outlining weekend plans:

Thirty officers will be divided into three teams of eight (a total of 24 officers) who will conduct walking patrols on Broadway from 3:30 p.m.-midnight. The remaining six officers will be on ATVs and conduct mobile enforcement, including stopping and citing any “transpotainment” vehicles operating in violation of the Health Department’s prohibition.

The officer presence will be an increase over the 19 School Resource Officers who have been on Broadway working on public mask compliance on prior Friday and Saturday nights since mid-July.

The MNPD expects to be joined on Broadway on Friday and Saturday by staff from the Metro Health Department, Transportation Licensing Commission, Beer Board and the Fire Marshal’s Office.  The Sheriff’s Office will base its mobile booking vehicle in Riverfront Park on both nights.

There is clear signage on Broadway reminding persons that the mask mandate has the force of law.  Persons in violation can receive a Metropolitan Government citation for adjudication in Environmental Court, or a State of Tennessee criminal misdemeanor citation. Under state law, violation of the Health Department’s mask order is a class C misdemeanor.

Absent an authorized exception to the Health Department’s mask order, officers are being directed to take all necessary steps to ensure compliance as Nashville works to lessen the spread of COVID-19.

Statement from Metro Nashville Police Department

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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