Nashville Mayor John Cooper extends 'safer-at-home' order through May 8, all nonessential businesses to remain closed

Mayor John Cooper has extended the city's safer-at-home order through May 8. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)
Mayor John Cooper has extended the city's safer-at-home order through May 8. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Mayor John Cooper has extended the city's safer-at-home order through May 8. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced at a press conference April 30 that he will extend the city's safer-at-home order through May 8 to help limit the spread of coronavirus in the region. Cooper first issued the order on March 22.

As stated in the initial order, all nonessential businesses will remain closed, and restaurants and bars can only offer takeout and delivery services. All individuals in Davidson County are expected to stay home, except to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, medical appointments and restaurants for takeout.

Additionally, there should be no gatherings of more than 10 people, and religious services and other large gatherings are not allowed.

Cooper said Nashville's strategy to reopen will be "data-driven," and local officials will continue working in close cooperation with the state, local business leaders and public health experts. On April 23, health officials announced the city's four-part reopening plan, which relies on the downward trend or flattening of new reported cases for 14 days before advancing to the next phase.

"Since we first started considering how Nashville will restart our local economy, we've been committed to a data-driven approach that prioritizes public health and ensures a successful reopening," Cooper said. "It requires the confidence of both consumers and workers who make up the heart and soul of Nashville's economy. We must earn that confidence with a balanced approach that ensures that all Nashvillians can safely participate in our local economy."

Metro Nashville's coronavirus task force is tracking six indicators that will determine whether the city is ready to enter the first reopening phase: virus transmission rate, 14-day new case trends, public health capacity, testing capacity and the capacity of floor beds and ICU beds at area hospitals. At the April 30 press briefing, task force chair Dr. Alex Jahangir said most of the metrics indicate the city is ready for the first reopening phase, but the transmission rate and 14-day trend of new cases remain "less than satisfactory."

Jahangir said health officials want to see a rate of transmission of less than one—meaning each COVID-19 patient does not infect more than one person—and a downward trend of documented cases within a 14-day period. Nashville currently has a transmission rate of one, he said.

"Our latest public health data does not today support the start of phase one, but the results from the last two days clearly put us clearly on the right track," Cooper said. "We are close. We are meeting much of the important criteria contained within the framework, including hospital bed capacity and the ability to conduct county-wide contact tracing investigations."

In an executive order announced April 28, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee released guidelines that allowed most businesses to reopen this week, repealing the state's stay-at-home order that has been in effect over the past few weeks. The order does not extend to some large cities, including Davidson County.

As of April 30, local health officials have announced 2,669 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Davidson County ranging in age from 2 months to 99 years old. Of the 2,669 confirmed cases, 1,411 residents have recovered from the virus. According to new data, 25 residents have died from the virus.

This story is developing, check back for updates.