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SEIU Supports Mask Mandate for Nashville

September 21, 2021

Letter from President Brad Rayson to Nashville Metro Council

After discussions with our member leaders, we write today to express our support for BL2021-872 that requires masks to be worn indoors in Davidson County. As of today, the CDC website identifies Davidson County as a “high transmission area” and states “Everyone in Davidson County, Tennessee should wear a mask in public, indoor settings.”

We are thankful that Mayor Cooper is requiring masks in all public buildings to protect Metro employees and visitors. However, not every private sector employee works in a place where the employers are as conscientious. Many employers are afraid of making the decision on their own because of the unfortunate politicization of masks. By taking action, the city can lift the burden of that decision from the employers AND ensure a safe workplace for all working people in Davidson County and the people who visit those businesses.

We’ve heard the argument that the vaccine is the best way to fight Covid. That is true, but to defeat Covid, we must use all of the tools that we have at our disposal, including masks. For children under 12 years old, who can’t yet receive a vaccine, it is one of the best ways to stay safe. We can make the entire city safer for those children and all of us by simply requiring masks to be worn indoors. This is what the CDC recommends, even if they don’t use the word mandate.

Finally, making good public health decisions should not be politicized. Representatives from the Health Department stated to the Health and Hospitals Committee that they were not making this decision out of fear of retaliation by the State Legislature. Whether that fear is based on a legitimate threat or not, we cannot allow that possibility to get in the way of taking vital action to fight the ongoing pandemic and doing everything in our power to save lives.

We urge you to support BL2021-872.