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Nashville mayor releases his reopening plan & it could tell us what to expect for the rest of Tennessee

We do know that May 1 will not be a return to what our lives were like before the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Gov. Bill Lee's safer at home order expiring across Tennessee, many businesses will be allowed to reopen.

There's been a lot of questions about what that will look like, and for now, no specifics have been released by the state or Knox County, though Mayor Glenn Jacobs did outline his thoughts on how it could work in a memo to the governor.

State and local leaders are working together to come up with the best plan, and what we have heard from most of them is that the reopening will be gradual, done in phases, with health officials monitoring the results to see if any changes need to be made.

We do know that May 1 will not be a return to what our lives were like before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Nashville's mayor has released his plan, and it could give us some insight into what could happen across the state. Mayor John Cooper said the Tennessee Major Metro Reopening Task Force, which includes Knoxville leaders, has been working for the past week on developing a coordinated plan.

Davidson County was much harder hit than Knox County, with nine times the number of cases.

Mayor Cooper's "road map" includes four phases for reopening the city. Before moving to the next phase, there must be "positive improvement/stability in the metrics for 14 days," Cooper said. No dates are listed.

PHASE ONE

In Phase One, Cooper is advising anyone over the age 65 and those who are deemed high risk to stay at home. He also advised people to continue to work from home whenever possible. All residents were advised to wear masks in public, schools would be closed, and there should be no gatherings over 10.  

Restaurants and bars serving food would be able to reopen at half-capacity with bar areas closed and no live music. Healthcare and dental will resume routine and elective procedures for people under 70 years old. Employees for those organizations would be screened daily and must wear masks. 

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The following businesses would remain closed in Phase One

  • Bars, Entertainment Venues
  • Nail Salons, Hair Salons, Massage, Etc.
  • Gyms and Fitness
  • Playgrounds,tennis and basketball courts
  • Sports Venues

PHASE TWO 

In Phase Two, Cooper once again advises anyone over the ageof  65 and those who are deemed high risk to stay at home. He also advised people to continue to work from home whenever possible, all residents were advised to wear masks in public and schools to remain closed.

However, gatherings such as meetings, religious services, weddings, etc., could be limited to 50 people.

Restaurants and bars serving food would be able to reopen at three-quarters capacity, but bar areas would remain closed and there would be no live music.

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Healthcare and dental routine and elective procedures will be available for all age groups. Employees for those organizations would be screened daily and must wear masks. 

Hair and nail salons, as well as massage parlors, will be open by appointment only. Only 10 staff and customers would be allowed in the building at a time.

Playgrounds and ball courts could open, but with social distancing.

The following businesses would remain closed in Phase Two:

  • Bars, Entertainment Venues
  • Gyms and Fitness
  • Sports Venues. 

PHASE THREE

In Phase Three, nonresidential K-12 schools can reopen and gatherings will be limited to 100 people.

Restaurants and bars serving food would be able to reopen at full capacity, bar areas will be able to open at 50 percent capacity, and live music will be permitted. 

Retail stores, commercial businesses, gyms, fitness centers as well as playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts will be fully opened with people still observing social distancing. However, sport venues will remain closed in Phase Three.

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Bars and entertainment venues will be able to open at 50 percent capacity and that will include tours, museums and theaters. 

Once again, hair and nail salons, as well as massage parlors, will be open by appointment only. Only 10 staff members and customers will be allowed in the building at a time.

In Phase Three, all employees will be screened daily and have to wear masks with all equipment be wiped down after each use.

PHASE FOUR

In Phase Four, Cooper is still advising anyone over the age of 65 and those who are deemed high risk to stay at home. Working from home and wearing masks in public will be optional, but still be recommended by the mayor. Gatherings will still be limited to 100 people.

Sports venues, bars, and entertainment venues will join retail stores, commercial businesses, gyms, fitness centers as well as playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts open at full capacity with social distancing in mind. 

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However, once again, hair and nail salons, as well as massage parlors, will be open by appointment only. There will be no walk-ins. Only 10 staff and customers will be allowed in the building at a time.

Cooper said there is a chance Nashville "will experience continued outbreaks of COVID-19 that will force us to revert to earlier phases of the plan."

"The more that Nashville residents and businesses follow each phase of the plan carefully, the more we will stay on track and the faster we will get back to business safely," Thursday's release said.

WSMV contributed to this report.