‘Data and science’ will determine if Davidson County businesses reopen in early May

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced Tuesday the first phase of an economic re-opening in Davidson County could begin in early May if specific requirements are met.

Cooper said the requirements include a transmission rate of less than one, a 14-day downward trend in new cases, adequate testing/PPE and a “robust health infrastructure to conduct contact tracing investigations.” That infrastructure would include adequate testing, public health and hospital capacity.

Dr. Alex Jahangir with the Metro coronavirus taskforce added phase one will consist of the reopening of retail/commercial businesses and restaurants at limited capacity and with restrictions to promote social distancing.

Health care facilities will also begin performing elective outpatient procedures for select groups of patients. There will be three additional phases and each will begin only if the data shows positive improvement over a 14-day span.

“Data and science will drive the timing of when we reopen and we hope that will be in early May,” said Dr. Jahangir.

Members of the Metro Council weighed in on reopening Nashville’s economy ahead of Mayor Cooper’s announcement.

“COVID-19 is an extremely dangerous virus that requires most people to stay home as much as reasonably possible to prevent its spread. I know businesses of all kinds are eager to reopen, but until we see extraordinary increases in our ability to test and trace the spread and isolate, the safest thing for everyone to do is to stay home. Life will start to seem more normal again when we have antivirals and/or a vaccine. But we might exist in a world with COVID-19, so masks and other things we’re not used to might be more common going forward.”

Freddie O’Connell

“I think most of my constituents trust Mayor Cooper’s judgement. He is surrounded by world class experts in epidemiology. He will open the Nashville economy when it is safe to do so and in a prudent manner.”

Robert Nash

MORE: Local, state officials react to governor’s plan to reopen Tennessee

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced he will not be extending his “Safer at Home” order when it expires at the end of the month.

Eighty-nine of Tennessee’s counties will begin to reopen on May 1. Businesses on Broadway and across Nashville have been closed for nearly a month.

The state’s economic recovery group is even working with some industry leaders to get some businesses open as soon as Monday, April 27. Gov. Lee said he has been focused on the data, that the curve is flattening and the damage to the public’s health has been minimized.

“We will continue to use that social distancing going forward because that is the way we can safely open businesses, that is the message, we want to allow people to work, allow people to live allow people to move in their society but do so in a safe way and we want to give guidance and measures and guidelines so people can do just that,” said Gov. Lee.

Nashville still hasn’t hit the peak. Mayor Cooper said a lot of progress will be made on the city’s reopening strategy this week and residents should expect his safer at home order to be extended for a period of time.

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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