Nashville business owners who are gearing up to reopen Monday better comply with all of Mayor John Cooper’s safety rules for COVID-19, or else police might pay them a visit.
As The Tennessee Star reported Friday, after days in quarantine, Nashville will move to Phase One of Cooper’s plan to reopen the city’s economy, at least partially, this coming Monday.
Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell said at a press conference Friday that for the first offense county officials will tell managers how to comply — and come back later to make sure they are doing just that. For a second infraction county officials will deliver a warning.
“Even after the warning, if they do not listen to us there are a number of actions we could take,” Caldwell said.
“There is fining, as well as [actions against] whatever permits they may have, depending on the type of facility that they are. They will jeopardize those permits, but we don’t want to get to that level.”
Caldwell also encouraged people to never give business to any establishments that don’t toe the line.
Metro Health spokesman Brian Todd told The Star in an email Friday that county officials have already responded to more than 500 complaints since Cooper announced his Safer at Home Order.
“Any retail establishment that is not following the Order can be warned or can be cited (Slider House is an example) and can be fined $50 per infraction. MPHD’s citation would be to Metro Environmental Court,” Todd said.
“And it is there the business could be fined $50 per violation which, depending on the nature of the violation, could [be] $50 per person involved in the violation. For example if a restaurant with a maximum allowable number of 50 people was cited for having 100 people inside, then the establishment could be fined $50 for each person over the allowable capacity.”
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.
Caldwell said Friday that county officials have ample resources to police all of Nashville’s businesses.
“We will hire up to 20 additional environmental health investigators,” Caldwell said.
“This will complement our already existing team of 10 to assess and to ensure compliance with our Phase One reopening.”
Caldwell also said people who want to complain about a local business can file a report at the county government’s website.
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