NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Metro Nashville Health Department announced Tuesday that all COVID-19 restrictions except for the county-wide mask mandate will be dropped effective May 14.
For most people, whether they live in Music City or are visiting, it’s definitely welcome news.
“This is a transitional moment for Nashville as we focus on vaccinations and economic recovery,” Mayor John Cooper said in a news release. “As of today over 40% of Nashvillians have received a vaccine, and we are committed to getting that number up in the coming weeks.
“The public health protections have gradually lifted as cases fell and vaccinations increased. Two and a half weeks from today, every Nashvillians will have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. The vaccines are life-saving and economy-saving, so every Nashvillian needs to get a shot to protect yourself, your family, friends and neighbors. I want to thank our businesses for doing the right thing and keeping Nashvillians safe during the pandemic.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the end of statewide public health orders and signed an executive order to address economic and regulatory functions.
That is music to the ears of some visiting Music City.
“We were on a rooftop and you actually had to wait 45 minutes,” said Chris Brown, who is visiting from Illinois. “That’s good news to me. If I could come back in two weeks, I will definitely come back.”
Others think it’s a bit quick to end all the restrictions.
“To think that everything is going to go away in two weeks is a little bit too early, but hopefully people are going to be vaccinated,” said Shagi Roftami, who is visiting Nashville from California.
According to the state health department website on Monday, Davidson County has had 40.1% of residents receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 27.4% are fully vaccinated.
Officials said May 14 will be six weeks since the vaccine became available to all adults in Nashville. Six weeks corresponds to the time needed to reach full immunity from the slowest of the three vaccines.
REOPENING UPDATE:On Friday May 14th, all COVID-19 capacity limitations in Nashville will be lifted.May 14th marks 6 weeks since the vaccine became available to all adults in Nashville. 6 weeks is the time needed to reach full immunity from the slowest of the 3 vaccines. pic.twitter.com/xD2wg6qvVR— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) April 27, 2021
“We looked at looking at the cases as well as the availability of vaccines and its readily available, and so those two factors went into the decision,” said Metro Public Health spokesman Brian Todd.
Restrictions will be gone on May 14, but one thing stays. The indoor mask order.
“We felt like indoors it still poses enough of a risk that we felt like that needed to remain, especially since the CDC is recommending also that it remains,” said Todd. “As far as businesses, how many people that can be allowed in, social distancing and all of that will go away starting May 14.”
Health experts said we need to stay vigilant, but this move is good for Nashville. They also said to continue to move forward and protect ourselves. People should get vaccinated. The goal is to have 50% of Nashville residents vaccinated by next month.
“It was a long journey to get us to this place and I am grateful to everyone in Davidson Count who has come together to fight this virus,” said Dr. Alex Jahangir, Metro Coronavirus Task Force chairman and Metropolitan Board of Health chair, in a news release. “While we are in the vaccination phase of our response, we must remember the danger has not passed. We need to remain vigilant, get vaccinated and continue to take care of each other.”
You can walk into the Music City Center without an appointment and get the Pfizer vaccine. The last day to get the first dose of the vaccine is May 7 and the vaccination center will shut down on May 28.
The change will also allow 100% attendance in places like Bridgestone Arena and Nissan Stadium, though patrons will be asked to wear masks since there wouldn’t be social distancing.
COVID-19 was first identified in Davidson County on March 7, 2020, and the Board of Health declared a Public Health Emergency on March 15, 2020. Fourteen months after the initial business closures due to COVID-19, all capacity restrictions will be lifted.