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Nashville council members pass mask mandate bill on second reading - September 21, 2021

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — UPDATE: Metro Council members passed a mask mandate bill on second reading Tuesday night.

A bill to require masks in public spaces was read at Tuesday night's council meeting. This comes as the Metro Public Health Department continues to say that a mask mandate isn't needed, per CDC guidelines.

Right now, masks are only required inside government buildings in Nashville.

Joy Styles is the bill's chief sponsor and says "it's obvious" that Music City needs another mandate. Styles tells FOX 17 News councilmembers have gotten requests to reinstate a mask mandate from doctors. Some who came together Tuesday to read an open letter to Metro Government.

"Other cities have implemented indoor mask mandates and "Other cities have implemented indoor mask mandates and they've worked. Our numbers were lower at this time last year when we had a mandate."

RELATED: Doctors debate over indoor mask mandate in Nashville

While Styles said vaccinations would be the answer, but "clearly" just asking for people to get vaccinated "is not working."

Meanwhile, the health department continues to stand its ground and say they stand behind a letter from MPHD Director Dr. Gill Wright stating as valuable as masks are, the way through this pandemic is vaccination. Dr. Wright added if hospitals are stretched to the breaking point or overrun by an influx of COVID cases, there could be action. But he says we aren't at that point right now in Davidson County.

Styles accused the health department of "playing politics" and said it was time to step in.

Other sponsors of the bill include Sharon Hurt, Sandra Sepulveda, Emily Benedict and Russ Bradford.

"I am supporting this bill because it’s the right thing to do," Bradford told FOX 17 News in a statement. "Masks work and they should be a part of a multi-pronged approach to combat this pandemic. If we could get more people vaccinated then we wouldn’t need to take this step, however with roughly 40% of our county unvaccinated and an even higher amount in our surrounding counties we must take steps to protect our citizens and our economy."

MPHD said it will be watching to see what happens at Tuesday's council meeting regarding masks.

The bill still needs to pass a third reading before taking affect. If passed, the bill would take affect immediately.

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