Metro Board of Health continues to encourage masks, not mandate

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Metro Board of Health says it will stick to its messaging that masks are highly encouraged, but not mandatory within Davidson County.

Dr. Alex Jahangir says because the vaccine is widely available, he does not believe a mandate is necessary, although he believes masks work.

“And we’re at a different place now than we were back in June of 2020 when we put the mandate in place,” Jahangir said.

The Metro Nashville Council passed a resolution on Tuesday, urging the health department to mandate masks in indoor public spaces.

“We’ve reevaluated this. We appreciate the council’s statement and recommendations. We continue to evaluate this and our position remains constant at this point,” Jahangir said.

Jahangir said the board is following what the CDC and health professionals are calling for at this time, which is mask encouragement.

“A mandate that cannot be practically enforced I think can do more harm than good,” Metro Public Health’s Hugh Atkins said.

But the viewpoint of the board was not met without some pushback from members that felt a mandate would be worth exploring.

One of the big issues board members foresaw was the inability to adequately enforce the mandate if one was implemented. Jahangir says it would not be possible to take resources away from pushing the vaccine efforts to control masking.

“Enforcement is very challenging. The people that are going to wear a mask are the same people that are probably vaccinated,” Jahangir said. “The resources it takes for enforcement is not small.”

Metro Nashville government buildings, public schools and private businesses do have mask mandates at this time.

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