NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Nashville inches closer to restarting the economy and opening up for Phase One.
Though Mayor Cooper extended the Safer-At-Home order through May 8th, COVID-19 Task Force Leader Dr. Alex Jahangir told small business owners in a reopen planning meeting Thursday afternoon that if cases stay in the average range they’re at, the Mayor will likely reopen next week.
He said, however, that whenever the announcement comes, it would be with a couple days of lead time so businesses can make sure they’re ready.
One small business ready to bring customers back in safely is Delgados Guitars. Owner Manuel Delgado has been running his business in East Nashville since 2005 but it’s been in his family since 1928.
Delgado says, “If you came to the store, you would look, the first thing you would see outside is a sign that is asking you to wear a mask for the safety of our staff, your safety, and the safety of the community.”
The sign outside is something Metro Health is asking all businesses to have visible outside. On it they’re encouraged to write the guidelines and protocols they’re making for the customers and employees.
Martha Boyd of Baker Donelson says the signs show the business is doing something and how they plan to operate but you have to follow it.
The written protocols will do no good if you don’t enforce it she says. Boyd also encourages business owners to create those protocols with other managers and employees, keeping in mind you’ll likely need to update it frequently as new issues arise.
Lead from the front she says, if you’re not wearing your mask properly, employees and customers won’t either.
Boyd also recommends preparing a document on the list of the COVID symptoms (all 6) and tell the employees if they have any of the symptoms to leave or not come in.
Failure to report could lead to disciplinary actions.
Metro Health is also encouraging businesses to check all employees temperatures before coming in. “What we’re not doing that the Governor has done but we believe is probably too much a burden is to actually screen all your patrons. If you choose to do that, your prerogative,” says Dr. Alex Jahangir.
So while there isn’t a one size fits all guidance, small businesses should base their openings off what essential businesses are already doing. Like marking lines six feet apart, having employees tell people to stay six feet apart, and only letting 50% capacity in the store.
It’s something Delgado hopes all small businesses will take as seriously as he is so a second wave doesn’t shut those non-essentials down again.
“I could argue, a family business, 92 years, our clients are musicians and schools. Both of which have been pretty much shut down right now. If anybody is wanting to see their business do well or see sales come in, I promise you I’m one of those people but I’m not going to risk the health of my wife, my children, my team members, my community… I don’t care what the amount of sale is, but not everybody thinks that way,” says Delgado.
The health department was asked during the tele-meeting if they’ll be monitoring for social distancing of these businesses. They say they’ll continue conducting regular inspections but will not be on patrol, and instead expecting people to do the right thing.