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Nashville mayor orders ‘non-essential’ businesses to close, residents to stay home

Nashville Mayor John Cooper

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville Mayor John Cooper ordered all businesses in Davidson County that do not perform essential services to close for 14 days.

During his daily news conference Sunday morning, March 22, Mayor Cooper announced his “Safer At Home Order,” set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 23.

What does the “Safer At Home Order” mean?

Residents of Metro Nashville and Davidson County are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.

You can… 

  • Go to the grocery, convenience, or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other health care necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery, or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog, and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

You should not … 

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than six feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites

Which services are deemed essential?

The following essential activities will remain open:

  • Federal and state offices and services, including post offices and airports
  • Essential Nashville government functions including law enforcement, transportation, and businesses that provide government programs and services
  • Food and beverage: grocery and beverage stores, farmers markets, food banks, catering, convenience stores selling food, agriculture, food processing, feed mills, and other businesses that directly support the food supply
  • Health care, mental and behavioral health, and biomedical research and businesses that directly support the healthcare industry including health information technology, staffing and supplies
  • Sanitation and waste removal businesses and services
  • Energy, water, and sewage businesses and services
  • Pharmacies and medical supply businesses, and other businesses that directly support the drug and medical supply pipeline
  • Vehicle fuel, support, service stations and businesses
  • Banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, accounting businesses, and other business that directly support the insurance and financial services sector
  • Legal and judicial services
  • Laundromats/laundry/cleaning services
  • Home and business repair, hardware supply
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Construction and facilities design businesses
  • Product logistics, transport, and distribution businesses
  • Parcel transportation and delivery businesses
  • Veterinary and pet supply business and services including agricultural services and the caring and feeding of all livestock and farm animals
  • Home and business cleaning and maintenance services
  • All businesses which rely upon deliveries may continue, including florists
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)
  • Certain other business and services the Office of the Mayor determines are essential for the continued safety and security of Davidson County.

In addition:

  • Day care and child care business will remain open, but will prioritize children of parents working in essential services.
  • Hotels and commercial lodges will remain open, but must end entertainment or dining services in restaurants or group settings. Pick-up and room-service food services may continue.
  • Essential services listed above may continue as long as appropriate distancing is physically possible and encouraged. These businesses will adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene in the workplace, including encouraging work-from-home and allowing employees when possible to work on-site in shifts to optimize social distancing in the workplace.
  • All essential services, especially grocery stores and pharmacies, will make best efforts to establish hours when only available to senior citizens or otherwise vulnerable populations.

This order does not apply to employees of government agencies working within the course and scope of their public service employment. Employees of the Metro Nashville shall follow any current or future directives issued by the Mayor.

Individuals may leave their residences to provide any services or goods or perform any work necessary to the operations, maintenance, and manufacturing of essential infrastructure, including without limitation:

  • Construction of commercial and institutional buildings, and residential buildings, and housing
  • Airport operations, food supply, concessions, and construction
  • Water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil extraction, and refining.
  • Roads, highways, public transportation, and rail.
  • Solid waste collection and removal.
  • Flood control and watershed protection.
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)
  • And manufacturing and distribution companies deemed essential to the supply chains of the above industries

You can find answers to more questions about the order on the city’s COVID-19 website.

In a statement released by Vanderbilt University Medical Center following the mayor’s announcement of the “Safer at Home Order,” President and CEO Jeff Balser said, “with the number of cases of COVID-19 rising rapidly, Nashvillians need to take every step now to slow the spread of the virus – to preserve precious health care resources to care for those who will soon need them.  Mayor Cooper’s Safer at Home Order will save lives.”

Balser added, “by following the order, we can reduce the number of people who need hospitalization all at once, enabling us to manage the coming COVID-19 patients while also serving people with many other conditions, like heart disease and cancer, who will continue to need us.”

During the city’s briefing Sunday morning, the Metro Public Health Department also announced 179 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nashville and Davidson County. The department said one death had been reported, two people remained hospitalized, 27 had recovered from the virus, and 149 people were self-isolated at home with “mild and manageable symptoms.”

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