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Mayor John Cooper announces four-phase plan to reopen Nashville; What you need to know

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Posted at 6:26 AM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 19:58:10-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville has released its four-phase plan to reopen the city's economy.

Earlier this week, Mayor John Cooper said he hopes a phased reopening of the city can began in early May. However, the Mayor's Office says the plan is data driven, not date driven. Each phase opens up different businesses, at different capacity levels.

They have released their rules for reopening that are guided by two recommendations:

Recommendation 1: “Data, rather than arbitrarily chosen dates, should guide the decision to reopen.”

Recommendation 2: “Clear metrics to determine when the economies will reopen and when to reimpose certain limitations.”

  • 14-day downward or stable trend in new coronavirus cases: Public health officials said this should begin only after 14 days of significant declines. If there’s an increase in active cases, they will pause moving forward and revert to an earlier phase or re-impose stricter social distancing guidelines.
  • Adequate testing capacity: Metro officials say Nashville is currently able to conduct 5,000 tests a week – consistent with the common benchmark of 1 test per 100-150 residents per week.
  • Contact tracing: Metro Health's capability to interview “index” cases (a person who may be spreading the virus), identify close contacts, and ensure that isolation and quarantine are effective.
  • Health care system capacity: Metro will continue to monitor the available number of hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to make sure there’s enough if there’s a surge in cases.

The plan currently has four phases. View the full document here.

Phase one would open retail and other commercial businesses at half capacity, but with several other requirements for them to open, including:

  • Wearing of cloth masks by employees and patrons
  • Screening employees temperature daily
  • Cleaning of carts, etc. at places that have them
  • "Explicit expectations" of frequent hand hygiene.

In addition, restaurants and other businesses will also be allowed to reopen at half capacity, but bar areas must remain closed, live music won't be permitted, and physical distancing must be maintained in kitchens in dining rooms.

If, after a minimum of 14 days after phase one the trend of new cases continues to decline or remains flat, phase two would then begin.

Phase two would allow elective outpatient and inpatient surgeries to resume, and capacity at restaurants and bars would be allowed to rise to 3/4 full. Hair, nail, massage, and tattoo businesses can also open, but must limit total numbers of patrons and staff to under 10, not allow walk-ins. All open businesses would still be expected to perform daily temperature checks on employees. Parks would reopened playgrounds and basketball courts as well in phase two.

In Phase three, which would be another 14 days at a minimum from phase two, restaurants and bars would return to full capacity. In addition, other entertainment venues would be allowed to open at half capacity. Gyms and personal hygiene businesses could also reopen, as well as K-12 schools.

Phase four is not a full reopening. Sports and live performance venues would be reopened, but only with appropriate social distancing guidelines. Daily temperature checks are still in Phase four as well, and those over the age of 65 or with high risk factors are still being asked to remain "safer at home."

If cases of COVID-19 were to rise during and of the phases, the city would revert to the previous phase until a 14-day decline took place.

There is no timeline in the document from the city on when a full reopen, without restrictions, would take place.

Watch the full briefing below:

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