NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Metro Board of Health voted Friday to require anyone out in the public in Davidson County to wear face coverings or masks.
The board made the vote during an emergency meeting. The motion passed 4-0.
"We need to do all we can to save the lives of Nashvillians," Dr. Alex Jahangir, Chairman of the Metro Board of Health said.
The meeting was called after 232 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Friday in Davidson County, raising the 14-day average case count to 153. Metro Public Health reports 8,876 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Davidson County on Friday.
"At my encouragement, the Metro Board of Health will hold an emergency meeting today to determine its support for a policy requiring face coverings in public places," Mayor John Cooper said in a social media post.
The Tennessee Department of Health also reported a record number of new cases - 1,410 - raising the state's total of confirmed and probably cases to 39,444.
During the emergency meeting, board members agreed wearing a mask will help battle COVID-19 and prevent Nashville from moving backwards on its reopening plan.
"Short of shutting down the economy again, this is the only tool we have and I think that we would all like to see the economy functioning and I have to believe that wearing a face mask is a small price to pay for that," David Frederick, a board member said.
The enforcement part is what sparked some discussion.
"There are going to be a lot of people that are going to be unhappy with it. On the other hand, I think it will increase the number of people who comply," Dr. Thomas Campbell, a board member said.
"The goal is to change behavior not necessarily to create citations to punish people financially," Tene Franklin, a board member said.
Dr. Michael Caldwell, Director of Metro Public Health Department, and health department staff will develop the policy and are expected to have it drafted by Sunday at 5 p.m.
Metro's health department told News4 they would be responsible for enforcement.