Masks, short-term rentals and home-based businesses: 3 ordinances approved by Metro Nashville Council July 7

Metro Nashville Council approved three ordinances related to mask requirements, non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties and home-based businesses at the July 7 meeting. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)
Metro Nashville Council approved three ordinances related to mask requirements, non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties and home-based businesses at the July 7 meeting. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Metro Nashville Council approved three ordinances related to mask requirements, non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties and home-based businesses at the July 7 meeting. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Metro Nashville Council’s July 7 meeting included the approval of several ordinances on third reading, three of which involved mask requirements, non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties and home-based businesses.

1. Essential employees required to wear face coverings

Metro Council approved an ordinance that requires all essential employees to wear face coverings when interacting face-to-face with members of the public.

The ordinance, sponsored by District 32 Council Member Joy Styles, requires all essential employees of businesses allowed to operate under public health orders to wear face coverings when interacting with customers. Workers at construction sites must also wear face coverings when more than one worker is present, which is not required under Public Health Order 8 requiring all residents to wear masks or face coverings in public.

According to Mike Jameson, director of legislative affairs in the mayor's office, the ordinance and the city's mandate can "cohabitate."


"I believe [Council Member] Style's attention was directed towards the workplace, as it does address employees and construction workers, whereas [Metro Nashville Public Health Director] Dr. Michael Caldwell ... that order is addressed to members of the public generally, but we see no contradiction to the two [mandates]."

2. Non-owner-occupied short-term rentals prohibited within 100 feet of churches, schools

An ordinance prohibiting non-owner-occupied short-term rental properties from operating within 100 feet of churches, parks, schools and daycare centers received council approval on third reading at the July 7 meeting.

“The [Metro] Council has heard concerns from the public on numerous occasions ... about the negative secondary effects associated with the operation of non-owner-occupied short term rental properties in Nashville and Davidson County, including public intoxication, lewdness and excessive noise,” the ordinance said.

Under the ordinance, new non-owner-occupied STR applicants may seek exemption from the 100-foot distance requirement by receiving 21 votes from Metro Council following a public hearing.

This ordinance is similar to the 100-foot distance requirement for those seeking beer permits near churches, schools and daycares, according to the ordinance.

3. Some home-based businesses can now serve clients in Davidson County

Metro Council approved an ordinance 25-14, with one abstention, to allow some types of home-based businesses to legally serve clients in Davidson County.

Businesses that offer tutoring, music lessons and other services as well as recording studios and beauticians can now apply for a permit to have clients visit their home businesses, according to ordinance sponsor District 35 Council Member Dave Rosenberg.

"We're delivering a win to parents who seek enrichment opportunities for their children, struggling Nashvillians who need to make a little extra money on the side and the budding entrepreneur who wants to start a small business in the spirit of Apple or Google but can't afford astronomical commercial rents," Rosenberg said.

The new ordinance, which Rosenberg said he first introduced nine months ago, offers protections related to commercial deliveries, noise, signage and residential character. He said the new ordinance will also increase enforceability "by narrowing the focus" of the city's property inspectors.

Under the ordinance, only one non-resident employee is permitted to work in the home. Customers can visit homes from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, with a maximum of six visits per day.

"As we considered the language of the bill and considered ways in which the legislation could be abused, we were able to identify a wide range of protections to ensure the worst case is eliminated," Rosenberg said. "We ended up with a bill that eliminates the vulnerabilities to neighborhoods that exist under our current, unenforced and unenforceable law."

However, council members who opposed the ordinance said they believed the new law could negatively impact neighborhoods.

The ordinance allows the following five occupation types to receive a permit:

  • Personal instruction

  • General office

  • Personal care services

  • Multimedia production

  • Artisan manufacturing uses


Council Members Tom Cash, Thom Druffel, Angie Henderson, Kathleen Murphy and Russ Pulley, all of whom represent areas in Southwest Nashville, voted against the bill. District 17 Council Member Colby Sledge, who represents Berry Hill and Edgehill areas, voted in support of the ordinance.

The council will review the ordinance in January 2023. Read the full ordinance on the city's website.