Phase one of reopening begins in Nashville; restaurants, retailers open at half-capacity

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Posted at 6:07 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 08:54:31-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's the start of a new normal in Nashville as businesses begin phase one of reopening on Monday morning.

This means you can start going out to eat or shopping, with some restrictions, of course.

Customers will have a different dining experience for quite some time. Restaurants have spent the last few days before reopening making sure they understand the new rules that Mayor John Cooper's office said are important to keep the virus from spreading.

Normally, you would see kitchen staff wearing gloves and masks, but now, servers will be doing the same. Restaurants are asked to screen employees for symptoms every day as well.

While things are moving closer to being normal, don’t expect places to be packed yet. Restaurants will only have the dining rooms at half capacity and tables need to be at least 6 feet apart with no more than six guests per table.

Retailers in Nashville are also allowed to reopen on Monday with similar capacity and safety restrictions.

Mayor Cooper said Nashville is moving in the right direction, but if people don’t cooperate, our work could go to waste.

"More than ever we're counting on all of you to follow safe social distancing and to follow all public health protocols," Mayor Cooper said. "As our testing capacity continues to grow, we will see case numbers naturally increase. But, your efforts will largely determine the sustained success of our economic restart."

He added it's up to customers to keep things safe by wearing a mask and reporting any businesses that aren't complying by calling 311.

Once the city reaches phase two, restaurants will be allowed to open at 75 percent capacity. Mayor Cooper said Nashville will need to go 14 days of having safe metrics in order to move to that next phase.