NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville lifted its indoor public mask requirement Friday after federal counterparts relaxed guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic to advise that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
Local health officials made the determination Thursday in a reversal from earlier that day, when they had maintained the indoor mask requirement just after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people.
Metro Public Health Department spokesperson Brian Todd said officials further reviewed the new CDC guidelines, then made the change to remove the mask mandate.
Nashville’s mask requirement officially was dropped Friday morning, the same day the city's remaining pandemic capacity limits expired.
Nashville’s Metro Public Health Department still strongly recommends that unvaccinated people wear masks when in crowds, indoors and when unable to socially distance. Businesses can still choose to require masks.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee last month removed the option for most local governments to mandate masks in public and urged a few big counties with authority to implement their own restrictions, including mask requirements, to remove them by Memorial Day.
Shelby County, which includes Memphis, earlier this week announced a similar removal of broad mask requirements, effective Saturday.