NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville entered a new phase of reopening even with COVID-19 cases on the rise, but officials said Monday that the city won’t advance past this phase for at least a month.
The move comes as Tennessee collectively has seen its new cases of COVID-19 trend upward. The state on Friday reported its biggest single-day increase in positive cases since the pandemic began in March.
Nashville's third phase notably allows event spaces and small music venues to operate at half capacity, or up to 250 attendees, while bars can open at half capacity.
The remaining closed metro parks and facilities, including playgrounds and basketball courts, can reopen, and camps can operate at full capacity with social distancing. Schools can also open with restrictions.
In moving forward, Mayor John Cooper cited Nashville’s testing capacity, contract tracing levels and adequate hospital beds. The phases originally were meant to last two weeks each, though the second phase lasted a month.
On Saturday, the Shelby County Health Department in Memphis reported an increase of 385 cases of the new coronavirus, eclipsing the previous single-day spike by more than 100 cases.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Nashville's city-county government reported 279 new cases.
Shelby remains in its second reopening phase, with restaurants, retail stores and other nonessential businesses allowed to operate at 50% capacity. The county scrapped plans to move into the next phase last week after a spike in tests, hospitalizations and positivity rates.
Tennessee's largest county by population, Shelby reported another 210 new cases Monday.
On Monday, Nashville health officials also recommended that people who attended or worked at D.L. Hughley's comedy shows Thursday or Friday get tested for COVID-19.
The stand-up comedian, 57, lost consciousness while performing at the Zanies comedy nightclub on Friday night and was hospitalized, news outlets reported. On Saturday, Hughley posted a video on Twitter in which he said he was treated for exhaustion and dehydration afterward. He also said he tested positive for COVID-19.
Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee contributed to this report.