NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - After one week, Metro officials say its too early to talk about when Nashville and Davidson County will move into Phase Four on the Roadmap for Reopening Nashville.

"Stay vigilant. It's going to be around awhile," said Mayor John Cooper during Thursday's weekly coronavirus press briefing. "We can control the virus, we don't have to have the virus control us. The last several months of data show us it works."

Nashville moved to Phase Three on the reopening plan on Oct. 1.

Cooper cited numbers showing that Davidson County was the worse county in the state for cases per 100,000 in July. Now the county stands 84th out of 95 counties.

On Thursday, Metro Public Health reported 125 new COVID-19 cases, raising the county's total cases to 29,915. Thursday was the fourth straight day of more than 100 positive cases reported after a string of six days of under 100 cases as the city moved to Phase Three. There have been 283 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Davidson County.

During Thursday's press conference Cooper announced Metro Council approved providing $2 million in grants to small businesses and $2 million in grants to live music venues from the city's CARES Act funs. Click for information on how to apply.

"Any funds help. We're all trying to protect our balance sheet, to keep cash. There has been so much abrupt change since March. The way we are looking at things is how to keep going six months at a time," said Pat Martin, owner of Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint and Hugh Baby's BBG & Burger Shop. "It's been horrific. The best way we can back to it is to wear a mask."

In Davidson County, masks are required to be worn inside restaurants except when eating or drinking.

"Shop local, eat local, support local. Do it safely so we can reopen," said Kimberly Lewis, owner of Emerson Lewis Clothing Boutique.

"Don't politicize this. It's not a Democrat vs. Republican thing," said Martin.

The small business owners are optimistic the city won't have to take a step back like it did earlier this summer. Nashville originally moved into Phase Three in late June before taking a step back to Modified Phase Two on July 3.

"I'm optimistic we won't go backwards if we just follow all the protocols and wear the masks so we can continue to move forward," said Lewis.

Metro Council also approved a measure on Tuesday that would allow other city employees to issue citations during a state of emergency.

"It's on an as-needed basis," said Cooper. "It includes employees that will already be out and on-site for inspections."

Cooper referred to an example as transpotainment inspectors would be able to cite transpotainment operators that are in violation.

The Metro Public Health Department is prepared to assist Metro Schools as it reopens to younger students next week.

In addition to the assessment centers at Nissan Stadium, Meharry Medical College and the former Kmart location on Murfreesboro Pike, the health department would be willing to set up mobile testing centers at schools at the request of Metro Schools.

"Mobile sites are prepared to be set up on school grounds for parents, students and teachers that want increased testing," said Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force.

Cooper reiterated the city has no plans to alter the Titans plans to allow fans at Nissan Stadium when games resumes. On Thursday another player tested positive for COVID-19.

"We hope they recover soon. I know they're working hard on that. It's a challenging year," said Cooper.

Cooper said the plan put forward by the team works and was used at Tuesday's Nashville SC match at the stadium.

"Fans would not be at risk from players, they would not have that kind of contact at a game," said Cooper. "It's an excellent plan. It worked for the soccer team. It will work as best as possible for the Titans."

Tennessee is scheduled to host Buffalo on Sunday at Nissan Stadium. The NFL has not announced whether the game will be postponed because of the continued positive COVID-19 cases for the Titans.

Mayor John Cooper and other officials provide an update on Nashville's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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