Tennessee special session ends with bans on mask, vaccine mandates

(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 7:01 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2021 at 7:28 AM EDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In Tennessee, new legislation passed during the special session will limit COVID-19 restrictions

Lawmakers banned local governments and public schools from requiring masks unless COVID-19 cases dramatically skyrocket.

Businesses, hospitals, nursing homes and airports can still require masks.

Lawmakers also banned employer vaccine mandates.

However, businesses that contract with the federal government can be exempted.

“Even in the face of a health crisis, freedom individual liberty and the unalienable rights granted to us by God, must be defended preserved and protected,” said Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville).

“What we’re doing here is throwing fuel on the fire. We are not providing clarity. We’re creating instability and uncertainty,” said Sen. Jeff Yarbro D-Nashville.

Lawmakers also put limits on the powers of metro health departments, like the Shelby County Health Department.

Giving the governor and state health commissioner more power over how those health departments operate during a pandemic.

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