As the state of Tennessee continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic that's been prevalent in our communities for over a year, a couple of new announcements are expected that further signal that positive momentum.
With Metro Health Department showing a 20% vaccination rate, it's expected that restrictions on bars and restaurants will further loosen beginning the weekend of March 27th. Under the new plan, bars and restaurants would be allowed to remain open until 2am, with a socially-distanced capacity of 175 people per floor. The plan would also eliminate a capacity cap on bar counters, so long as social distancing is practiced. Indoor dining parties can increase to as large as 10 people, and outdoor dining can increase to 25. Larger groups would also be allowed to attend museums and other attractions, and capacity at gyms and pools would increase to 75%
Vaccine numbers should continue to increase, as the state is expected to enter into Phase 2a and 2b of vaccines for all health departments that are controlled by the state (which excludes Davidson, Shelby, and Knox County). This means anyone over the age of 55 becomes eligible for the vaccine, as well as anyone that works in social services, commercial agriculture, commercial food production, corrections, public transit, postal and package delivery, freight, public infrastructure, telecommunications, or utilities. The state will enter those phases effective this weekend, and Davidson County is expected to follow suit shortly.
So, what's next?
Well, at least as it pertains to Nashville, the next threshold for loosened restrictions would be at 30% vaccination rates. At that stage, bar and restaurant capacities would again increase, large conventions can have up to 3,000 people, and outdoor stadiums can fill to 40 percent capacity. Hopefully with new phases being introduced, we'll reach that 30% threshold in a very short period of time.
Keep em coming Nashville - we'll get our concerts and sporting events back soon enough!