NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper said he’s disappointed in Governor Bill Lee’s new Executive Order regarding school mask mandates.
Monday, Governor Lee issued an order that would allow parents to opt their children out of mask mandates enacted by local schools or health boards.
Metro Nashville Public Schools will not be changing its mandatory mask policy.
Mayor Cooper said the Executive Order undermines Nashville parents who are trying to protect their kids, especially those who don’t qualify for a shot.
While 55% of Nashvillians have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the mayor reminded people that the Delta variant is still spreading rapidly.
Last week, Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced its ER and adult hospital had reached full capacity, forcing them to turn away patients from other hospitals.
Mayor Cooper said the best way to provide hospitals relief and parents peace of mind is to get vaccinated.
“I can’t say it more clearly or too little. The way to help Vanderbilt, to help health providers, is vaccinations,” he continued, “Masks do help. They’re not as helpful as vaccinations. For people who can’t get vaccinated like children, I hope they do wear a mask. If we are concerned about hospital numbers rising we should be encouraging neighbors to get vaccinated.”
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Lt. Governor Randy McNally wrote he was “extremely appalled and alarmed” at the response from MNPS and Shelby County schools to Gov. Lee’s executive order.
“I am extremely appalled and alarmed at the response to Governor Lee’s executive order from Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools. This order was a compromise that still allows school boards to ensure the health and safety of their students while recognizing the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children. The Governor and the General Assembly cannot and will not allow lawful orders to be defied. If these systems persist in resisting the order, we will have no choice but to exercise other remedial options.”
Mayor Cooper also responded to local venues and businesses requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test. He said while Tennessee law does not allow requirements of vaccines, there are great people in the city encouraging more people to get vaccinated.