Nashville Officials to Force People to Wear Masks in Public for COVID-19


As of Friday night, members of the Metro Nashville Board of Health did not say specifically why they voted in favor of mandating face coverings or face masks in public to combat COVID-19.

Board members did not answer The Tennessee Star’s emailed questions about the matter before Friday’s stated deadline.

Those questions:

• What medical evidence did the officials involved in this decision cite that proves the efficacy of masks in preventing transmission of COVD-19?

• What is the data on cases, hospitalizations, and death rates to which they point as a reason for the mandate?

• What is the legal authority for the mask mandate?

• What is the enforcement mechanism?

Board members met late Friday afternoon to vote on the matter, according to the county government’s website.

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson seemed to suggest on his Twitter feed that face masks or coverings do not successfully combat COVID-19.

“Can Team Mask please explain Brazil” Berenson said in one Tweet.

“Face diapers have been required in many cities and provinces since April – two months – and where #Covid is spreading uncontrolled. As with lockdowns, there is just no coherent real-world evidence masks work as anything but social control.”

In another tweet, Berenson retweeted information that the Danish Health Authority put out saying it “does not encourage healthy individuals who go about their daily business to wear mouth or face masks.”

“It is uncertain that they have any effect on virus transmission,” the Danish Health Authority officials said in a flyer.

The flyer went on to say that “mouth or face masks can cause more harm than good.”

“For one thing you have to know how to use a mask correctly and how to dispose of it responsibly,” the flyer said.

“Incorrect use of a mouth or face mask can increase the risk of your hands being contaminated with the virus when you e.g. remove or correct the mouth/face mask, thereby increasing the risk of contact spread.”

Members of the Metro Nashville Board of Health scheduled an emergency meeting Friday to deliberate whether to mandate people wear face coverings or masks in public.

This, according to the county government’s website. 

Metro Coronavirus Task Force Chair Alex Jahangir called the meeting, according to Nashville Public Radio.

Photo “Alex Jahangir” by

“Disagreement has surfaced in recent days between Mayor John Cooper, who wants to mandate masks for everyone, and the director of Metro Health, Dr. Michael Caldwell. Caldwell has said he is trying to avoid a backlash and doesn’t want to add to the ‘tension’ by imposing a rule that would be impossible to enforce,” according to the station.

“Dr. Jahangir, who also chairs the city’s coronavirus task force, has called it a ‘difference of opinion.’ But he confirms to WPLN News that he was responsible for calling the emergency meeting to debate a public health order. In recent days, public health officials across Tennessee have pleaded with residents to wear masks as one of the last ways to stop the continued spread of the virus without reverting to restrictions on daily life.”

As The Tennessee Star reported this week, Cooper announced Nashville entered Phase Three of a four-phased plan to reopen the city after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. This, despite Nashville officials saying they have tallied higher numbers of the virus.

“Our 14-day case average is trending upward, but our testing capacity continues to increase, and more than 81,000 Nashvillians have received a COVID-19 test across Davidson County. We currently have 125 contact tracing investigators, well above our target of 105. Our health care capacity remains in good shape,” Cooper said.

“We currently have 27 percent of floor beds and 24 percent of ICU beds available at our local hospitals. And that all exceeds our target for 20 percent for both of these vital resources. Like our neighbors in other states and cities, our public health experts have determined that our COVID-19 public health benchmarks remain within an acceptable range to safely begin Phase Three.”

Nashville officials plan to keep the city in Phase Three for at least four weeks, Cooper said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]









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14 Thoughts to “Nashville Officials to Force People to Wear Masks in Public for COVID-19”

  1. K

    You cannot be forced to wear a mask if you have a medical condition which prevents it. You cannot be forced to disclose your condition (health privacy) and you cannot be denied service, or the shop owner could face heavy fines. This is according to ADA, but verify yourselves. The locals you come up against probably don’t know the rules either. Just sayin’…

  2. Only City Council can impose a Tax and only after 3 Readings.

    This means that I need to spend money to buy a mask. Since Nashville can only levee property taxes or sales taxes via action of the City Council. The mask requirement is a tax, just like Obamacare was labeled a tax by the US Supreme Court. Therefore the Nashville board of Health can not impose the mask requirement because they have no Taxing Authority. The order is invalid.

  3. 83ragtop50

    Time for all of us to stop listening to these clowns and to get on with life.

  4. Bentz Huschke

    What kind of mask is that idiot wearing? Looks like a bursting asshole!!!! Oh, never mind!

  5. Anna

    I really want to start a protest against this BS. Need info on how to get it started.

  6. Kevin

    Oh thank you Mayor Cooper for keeping me safe from an invisible, questionable danger, while making it clear for all of us what the real threat is…YOU!


  7. Julie

    Asymptomatic vs. symptomatic are numbers they will not report and they certainly can’t report dying with or dying of COVID numbers. The double standard with the protesters is an avoided conversation I have noticed as well. This is politically driven, I am not wearing a mask.

  8. Steve Allen

    It’s not a problem if you riot, deface and destroy public property. But now the government is going to punish you for not wearing a useless mask. The mask has become the new pink pussy hat and I’m not bowing down to the never ending liberal BS.

  9. rick

    Go to hell Cooper. Try to enforce it Jackass. Democratic BS.

    1. Ron Welch

      Enforcement will probably be done by the classic fascist method of having businesses not allowing people in withput masks. But don’t look for the “anti fascists” to protest.

      But wait! If people refuse to wear masks and call it a protest, won’t Mayor Cooper be obligated to endorse their protest as he did the other protests, join in and violate his own orders? Equality and justice for all!

  10. Mike Johnson

    “Face Diapers”….First I’ve heard that one…

    These mask wearing mandates are popping up all across the country and with no good rationale. The evidence is overwhelming that face masks do not provide protection against viruses, but instead rob the wearer of needed oxygen…as well as becoming a trap for all the contaminants we normally exhale.

    Welcome to the twilight zone folks

  11. You’re So Nashville If...

    …wearing masks will make it harder to scream profanities at police officers.

  12. JB Taylor

    Won’t be doing any more shopping in Nashville until they quit being stupid.