NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced Phase One of the city’s four-phase plan to reopen will begin on Monday, May 11.
Mayor Cooper made the announcement during his daily coronavirus task force briefing Thursday. He described Phase One as not a broad reopening, but rather a targeted, next phase of response to the disease.
“The goal is to get as gently back to work while managing the presence of the disease in our community,” explained Mayor Cooper.
“In setting a new policy response to a new disease, we don’t have all the answers. We are learning and adjusting. There will be difficult choices ahead. The next phase will be harder in many ways as we must continue effective and enforced social distancing while restarting the economy.”
There are now 3,432 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Davidson County and an additional two patients have died as of Thursday, according to the Metro Public Health Department. There has been a total of 35 deaths in Davidson County.
Phase One: Reopening
If Nashville experiences an acceptably stable or sustained declining trend in new cases for at least 14 days, Phase One of the reopening of certain economies may begin under the following guidance:
In addition to an acceptably stable or declining trend of active cases, Nashville should ensure that the appropriate benchmarks discussed in Section 1 of this memo have been met. Adequate testing should be available. Hospital capacity should exist to deal with both the existing case load and a potential surge. Nashville should also be able to certify to the local health department or the TN Department of Health that there is at least a 2 week supply of PPE at all hospitals, ambulance services, nursing homes and daycare centers. Comprehensive contact tracing and contact and case monitoring must be in place in order to identify cases and prevent transmission.
Only then should Nashville begin to reopen.
The following businesses/industries should reopen in Phase One:
- Retail and other commercial business may open with physical distancing maintained and at ½ capacity, cleaning of carts, explicit expectations for frequent hand hygiene and wearing of cloth masks by employees and patrons.
- Screen daily all employees with temperature and respiratory symptom checks. Employees with temperatures of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit must leave the premises immediately.
- Post information about health precautions for patrons, employees and staff (such as maintaining an appropriate physical distance while lining up for checkout). Automate doors, reduce the number of people using elevators, provide hand sanitizer to the extent possible.
- Advise employees with any symptoms of illness to be tested and to stay home until they receive test results. Establish policies that make it possible for employees to isolate and quarantine.
Restaurants and bars serving food from a menu may open at ½ capacity maintaining strict physical distancing.
- Screen daily all employees for respiratory symptoms and with temperature checks. Employees with temperatures of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit must leave the premises immediately.
- Post information about health precautions for patrons, employees and staff (such as maintaining a distance while lining up for checkout). Automate doors, reduce the number of people using elevators, provide hand sanitizer to the extent possible.
- Advise employees with any symptoms of illness to be tested and to stay home until they receive test results. Create policies that make it possible for employees to isolate and quarantine.
- Physical distancing must be maintained in kitchens and dining rooms.
- Bar areas must remain closed.
- Live music shall not be permitted.
- Self-service food and shared condiments are not permitted.
- Require that restaurants clean all surfaces after single use by patron.
- Recommend use of disposable menus.
- Employees required to wear cloth masks.
- Take-out alcohol sales will remain. Can serve alcohol at tables.
During this period, other social distancing measures should remain in place:
- Except when performing essential services, those over age 65 and those with high risk factors should remain safer at home.
- Work from home should continue whenever possible.
- Cloth masks should be worn in public
If Nashville experiences a significant and sustained increase in active cases during Phase One, local policymakers should be prepared to reimpose more stringent safer-at-home or social distancing measures.
Mayor Cooper previously said the city is on the right track to reopening, but the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase.
When the order was extended, the task force said health officials need to see 80 new cases or less per day in order to possibly start Phase One — though most days this week, there have been more than 100 cases per day.
Tuesday was the deadliest day for the city as five new deaths were reported, according to Metro’s dashboard of metrics. Two important factors remain less than satisfactory, the 14-day new case trend and the transmission rate.
Mayor Cooper said he has been spending the week working closely with public health experts to see if we can move forward — as employees from downtown businesses even other city leaders have spoken out against the order’s extension.
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.