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Nashville police issue 16 citations & 400 warnings to people not wearing masks in downtown area

"It’s time to take it to another level with more enforcement through citations if we’re not getting compliance."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  Metro Nashville Police issued 16 Metro civil citations Thursday to persons not complying with the Health Department's mask order for Nashville.

400 verbal warnings were also given.

Metro Police will be increasing their presence on Broadway late afternoon Friday until midnight. They will also be out in bigger numbers Saturday as well taking all necessary steps to ensure mask compliance. 

Original story

Metro Nashville Police officers will be enforcing the city's mandatory mask mandate in the downtown area starting this weekend.

There will more officers concentrated in the Lower Broadway area who will be giving out citations for people who can't give a good reason why they aren't wearing a mask.

“This Friday and Saturday will be very clear to anyone who’s in the downtown area that the police are out, the police are enforcing, and as needed, as necessary, we will issue citations. And if we have people who aren’t cooperative or there’s other situations involved, we’ll make an arrest if we have to,” says Captain David Leavitt.  

Police will also be looking for transpotainment vehicles, like party buses, which were banned in the city last week because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It’s time to take it to another level with more enforcement through citations if we’re not getting compliance," said Deputy Chief Damian Huggins.

The officers also say because of the different role the mask mandate presents for officers, who are dealing with new people walking by each day, makes it even harder to enforce the mask mandate. 

"This is a very different role for them and due to the current climate around the country with police, they’re kind of in a weird position right now," Leavitt said. "But I want to make it clear to everyone on the meeting that it has been made abundantly clear to them that unless someone has a legitimate exception to the mask ordinance, that [officers] are to issue citations.” 

Thirty officers will be on Lower Broadway, divided into three teams of eight.

Twenty-four officers will be on foot, patrolling Broadway from 3:30 p.m. to midnight. The remaining six officers will be on ATVs conducting mobile enforcement; this includes stopping and citing any transpotainment vehicles still operating.  

Police expect staff from the Metro Health Department, Transportation Licensing Commission, Beer Board and the Fire Marshall's Office to join them on Broadway Friday and Saturday. The Davidson County Sheriff's Office will base its mobile booking vehicle in Riverfront Park on both nights. 

Clear signage on Broadway is also still reminding people that wearing a mask is part of the law.  

People who violate this order could receive a Metropolitan Government citation for adjudication in Environmental Court, or a State of Tennessee criminal misdemeanor citation. Under state law, violation of Metro Health's mask order in a Class C misdemeanor.