NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Extra patrols are on Broadway making sure tourists and locals are wearing masks. Those extra patrols started Friday, when one person was arrested and 20 cited for not wearing a mask.
At the same time, new alcohol restrictions are now in effect. Metro Nashville Interim Chief John Drake said earlier this week that both are an on-going problem.
“I had a couple officers call me and had some individuals they had warned and said, ‘Put a mask on. We’re going have to issue a citation.’ They said ‘Do what you have to do. The president doesn’t wear one, I don’t have to either,’” Drake said.
On Friday and Saturday, there were 30 officers walking downtown and six on ATVs.
“We’re trying to prohibit the use of alcohol in the streets,” Drake said. “That’s really been the issue with mask enforcement is people are carrying open containers and as long as they have an open container, they don’t have to adhere to the mask policy that’s been changed.”
Metro’s newest health order cracks down on certain areas of downtown and midtown for selling drinks through store windows. Deliveries are still allowed, but the new rules went into effect at 5:00 p.m. Saturday. A tourist we spoke to sees the benefit.
“I think that’s a good idea because it stops people from lingering in the streets,” tourist Michael Pettice said.
But some think it’ll just create more problems.
“What you’re going to end up doing is forcing people to go home and have private parties at night,” Nashville resident Greg Busch said. “You don’t wear a mask. At least in a bar you’re forced to wear a mask.”
FOX 17 News Rachel Tiede reached out to the mayor’s office and health department about that concern. We are waiting for a response. Police say the goal isn’t to ruin the fun, but to stop the virus.
“With that kind of belief that they can do what they want -- that this virus is continuing to spike, continuing to spread -- I think enforcement is the only way to save lives,” Drake said.
FOX 17 News also reached out to several of the bars selling to-go drinks on Broadway. None wanted to do an interview.