NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — All capacity restrictions in Nashville put in place amid the pandemic will be lifted in mid-May with the city’s indoor mask mandate remaining in effect, according to Metro health officials.
The Metro Public Health Department made the announcement Tuesday morning and said the capacity limitations would officially be lifted as of 12:01 a.m. on May 14.
The department said May 14 will mark six weeks since the COVID-19 vaccines became available to all adults in Nashville and six weeks corresponds to the time needed to reach “full immunity” from the slowest of the three available vaccines.
The only restriction that will remain in place in Davidson County will be wearing masks indoors, but the Metro Public Health Department said it will continue to “strongly recommend that masks be worn outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.”
“This is a transitional moment for Nashville as we focus on vaccinations and economic recovery,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said in a statement. “As of today, over 40% of Nashvillians have received a vaccine, and we are committed to getting that number up in the coming weeks.”
He added, “the Public Health protections have gradually lifted as cases fell and vaccinations increased. Two and a half weeks from today, every Nashvillian will have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. The vaccines are life-saving and economy-saving, so every Nashvillian needs to get a shot to protect yourself, your family, friends and neighbors. I want to thank our businesses for doing the right thing and keeping Nashvillians safe during the pandemic.”
“It was a long journey to get us to this place and I am grateful to everyone in Davidson County who has come together to fight this virus,” said Dr. Alex Jahangir, the Chair of Metro’s Coronavirus Taskforce. “While we are in the vaccination phase of our response, we must remember the danger has not passed. We need to remain vigilant, get vaccinated and continue to take care of each other.”
“The decision to remove the restrictions is based on vaccination rates, vaccine availability, and lower case rates. However, if there is a significant increase in cases, hospitalizations or deaths, then restrictions could be reinstated,” said Dr. Gill Wright, Interim Chief Medical Officer for the Metro Public Health Department.
First doses of the vaccine will continue to be offered without an appointment at the Music City Center until May 7 with second doses provided until May 28, when the center’s mass vaccination site will permanently shut down.
Vaccinations will still be offered without an appointment at the drive-through site at the former K-mart on Murfreesboro Pike, as well as at Metro health mobile events throughout the county.
Metro health officials previously lifted some capacity restrictions earlier this month, allowing bars and restaurants serving alcohol to operate with a maximum of 225 patrons per floor, as of April 16.
As of that same date, the department said it would allow a 40% capacity limit for outdoor arenas and 33% for indoor arenas.
Maximum indoor event capacity had been increased to a maximum of 3,000 people with approval from the Metro Public Health Department and “higher-risk events” capped at 225 people.
Gathering size and table seating had also been increased to 15 people inside with a maximum of 25 people outside.
The Tennessee Department of Health reports approximately 40% of Nashville residents have received either their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as of Tuesday morning.
The state data also shows an estimated 27% of Nashville’s population has been administered their second dose.