Nashville officials will not, as many people had hoped, move to Phase One of their roadmap for reopening the city after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.
Mayor John Cooper announced the news at a press conference Thursday.
Cooper, though, said he had room for optimism.
“The results from the last two days put us clearly on the right track. We are close. We are meeting much of the important criteria contained within the framework, including hospital bed capacity and the ability to conduct countywide contact tracing investigations,” Cooper said.
“Based on recent active case data, if we average around 80 cases a day over the next several days while continuing to meet our other public health benchmarks, we can enter Phase One of the roadmap for reopening Nashville, which will enable local restaurants, bars that serve food, retail establishments, and commercial businesses to open at half capacity while observing social distancing protocols and other public health measures.”
Metro Coronavirus Task Force Chair Alex Jahangir said at Thursday’s press conference that Davidson County now has 2,669 confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase of 57 cases in the previous 24 hours. He also said the virus took the life of a 68-year-old man, raising the county’s COVID-19 death toll to 25.
Jahangir said an additional 2,272 COVID-19 cases in surrounding counties brought the region’s total to nearly 5,000 cases. Exactly 1,233 of those cases remained active as of Thursday, while 1,411 residents were clear of the virus, he said.
Cooper, meanwhile, said county officials had published a COVID-19 dashboard that displays several public health metrics at covid19.nashville.gov. These measures include the county’s coronavirus transmission rate, the 14-day new case trend, and public health capacity to conduct contract tracing investigations across Davidson County, among other things.
As The Tennessee Star reported last month, Cooper issued a four-phased plan to reopen Nashville’s economy.
According to ASafeNashville.org, for each of the four phases Nashville is in, city officials will only advance to the next phase if the area meets one of two benchmarks. The website said either the number of COVID-19 cases in Davidson County must remain stable or the number must decline over a 14-day period.
Jahangir said city officials will slow the process down “if something worrisome presents in those metrics.”
According to Jahangir, the four phases involve the following:
• In Phase One retail businesses will open and restaurants will have dine-in services, all at half-capacity and added guidelines and restrictions and operations will be present. Employees will be screened daily to ensure that they are symptom free and they will be required to wear cloth face coverings. Other public gatherings will be limited to 10 people or less. Everyone out in public should wear cloth masks and, if you are able, still work from home.
• In Phase Two, businesses and restaurants can go to three-quarters capacity with certain guidelines. In addition, personal hygiene businesses like hair and nail salons will open but only for appointments, no walk-ins, and limited to 10 people inside the building at one time. Playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts will open. Other public gatherings, including worship services, will be limited to 50 people and with adherence to strict physical distancing protocols.
• In Phase Three businesses and restaurants will go to full capacity. In addition, bars and entertainment venues will open at half capacity. Gyms and fitness facilities will open. Other gatherings will be limited to 100, again with adherence to strict physical distancing protocols.
• In Phase Four, bars and entertainment venues will be at full capacity, and sport venues will open with adherence to physical distancing protocols and best practices.
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