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Metro Public Health Dept. works to enforce Nashville's 'Safe-at-Home' order

Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 20:09:18-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville added new guidelines to its Safer at Home order today that will go into affect Monday. But with stricter guidelines will come enforcement.

Read More: Metro adds to list of nonessential businesses, limits number of people in grocery stores

For the past couple weeks, the Metro Public Health Department has been working with local businesses who are not consider essential to make sure they’re closed during this time.

They've received several complaints, and say they will be issuing citations. But after several complaints, they say now is the time to act and do so with citations.

NewsChannel 5's Levi Ismail was with Health Department officials while they responded to complaints about open nonessential businesses. Workers received a tip about a smoke shop off 8th Avenue South. However, our crew managed to beat the health inspector to the store only to find people in lines, placing orders at the window, then waiting to pick up.

Once the health inspector arrived, the once blinking “open” sign was turned off and the customers gone.

Officials say Metro Nashville Police officers will accompany the Metro Public Health’s enforcement teams to address any complaints. If there’s an issue, the business could receive a Metro citation which is a fine of $50.

It may not seem like much but as Brian Todd with Metro Public Health explained, it doesn’t end there.

“That’s a $50 fine - could be if we move in that direction. Now let’s say there are 50 people in that bar, that bar can then be fined for every person in that bar. So it quickly adds up," said Todd.

We asked, but couldn’t get any information on what if any fines were issued at this smoke shop.

A complaint can be made about certain businesses by calling 311 or on the hubnashville website but you can also make a complaint about a group of people that may not if you see be complying with the stay at home order.

Officials say if Metro Police believes the situation is severe enough, they too can write a citation of their own. This citation is considered a Class C misdemeanor and carries a $50 fine, 30 days jail time or both.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.