Nashville to remain in Phase 2 of reopening; officials cite uptick in COVID-19 cases

As part of Phase 2, which began May 25, restaurants and retail stores are permitted to operate at 75% capacity. (Courtesy Jake Matthews/Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.)
As part of Phase 2, which began May 25, restaurants and retail stores are permitted to operate at 75% capacity. (Courtesy Jake Matthews/Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.)

As part of Phase 2, which began May 25, restaurants and retail stores are permitted to operate at 75% capacity. (Courtesy Jake Matthews/Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.)

More than two weeks after restaurants and retail stores began operating at 75% capacity as part of Nashville’s second reopening phase, Mayor John Cooper announced June 11 the city will not yet advance to Phase 3 due to a slight increase in coronavirus cases in the past two weeks.

“As of today, the majority of our public health metrics are satisfactory, but case numbers both here and across the state are slightly elevated, prompting us to stay today in Phase 2 for our road map for reopening Nashville,” Cooper said at a press conference.

As of June 11, Davidson County has reported a total of 6,627 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 1,437 active cases.

According to Dr. Alex Jahangir, the chair of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force, nearly half of all new cases reported in the past month were in the southeast area of Nashville. Additionally, Jahangir said more than 85% of people infected with the virus in that area said they were most likely exposed to the virus in their homes, meaning not through community spread.

“Now I want to be very clear: This pandemic is not a southeast Nashville problem,” Jahangir said. “The data we use is based on where a person who is tested lives, not where they work, not where they shop and not where they may go.”


Cooper said that he has instructed the Metro Public Health Department to focus its education efforts and contract tracing in that area. In April, the department announced its plans to hire six to eight community outreach workers from within the city's largest immigrant and refugee communities to share information about the virus in the southeast area of Davidson County.

“We have seen the virus affect almost every part of our city, our region and our state, and not just a few ZIP codes,” Jahangir said. “While we may focus on [the southeast] area, we want to continue to work to slow the spread of this virus through the entire city.”

As part of Phase 2, which began May 25, hair and nail salons and gyms are permitted to operate at partial capacity. Bars will remain closed until the third phase of the plan.

City officials are still urging residents to wear masks or face coverings in public, according to the reopening plan.

"Your full participation and cooperation are essential for keeping us moving forward," Cooper said. "Please remember to practice safe social distancing, wear face coverings in public spaces [and] frequently wash your hands."