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Mayor Cooper approves continued take-out for beer - but no word on delivery in Tennessee

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Mayor Cooper approves continued take-out for beer - but no word on delivery in Tennessee

Apr 23, 2020

Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced a detailed plan for the staged reopening of restaurants, bars and music venues, as soon as May 1. The real question is: will anyone reopen their dining room on May 1st? You can read the entire Roadmap here.

Initial reactions do not look good if you are in the market for a sitdown meal on May 1.  We only found one restaurant planning to open its dining room on May 1, based upon inquiries we made within the first couple of hours of release of the Mayor’s Roadmap. 

A silver lining is take-out. The first three of the four phases specifically references take-out “alcohol” sales.  The order also specifically authorizes the sale of alcohol at tables.  We think that only applies to take-out beer. Use of the term alcohol is unfortunate.

The Roadmap does not mention delivery. The Metro Beer Board has authorized delivery of beer until May 31, with proper authorization from the Beer Board, but delivery is officially in limbo at the moment. 

The big question is:  Will Governor Lee extend delivery of all alcohol beyond midnight April 30, when his order authorizing alcohol delivery expires. We hear guidance may be forthcoming Friday April 24.

Not only does Gov. Lee’s power apply to the entire state, we believe that only Gov. Lee or the state legislature has the authority to be able to authorize delivery of wine, spirits and high gravity beer. Individual cities have power to regulate beer, but no authority to regulate the sale of wine and spirits at restaurants, bars and other venues.

Although the Roadmap specifically refers to the word “alcohol,” we see the Roadmap as only authorizing take-out of beer.

Beginning May 1, dining rooms at restaurants and “bars serving food from a menu” can open:

At half-capacity Physical distancing in kitchens and dining rooms Screen all employees daily for temperature and respiratory symptoms Employees with 100.4 fever or higher must leave immediately Employees with any symptoms of illness must be tested and stay at home until negative test results Create policies that make it possible for employees to isolate and quarantine Clean facilities Explicit guidelines to maintain hygiene Cloth face masks for employees, but not required for patrons Bar areas to remain closed No live music No self-service or shared condiments

Phase 3 adds these requirements, which appear to be left out of Phase 1, perhaps by oversight:

Require that restaurants clean all surfaces after single use by patron Recommend use of disposable menus

Bars, entertainment and cultural venues cannot reopen until Phase 3. “This includes museums, tours, attractions, bowling alleys, movie theaters.” At half-capacity. Live music is also permitted in Phase 3 for restaurants and bars serving food.

In order to initiate the reopening plan, the city will be required to meet the following criteria:

    •  Proof of a decline or flat cases of COVID-19 over a 14-day period

    •   Adequate testing and PPE capacity in the region

    •   A robust public health infrastructure to conduct contact tracing cases

Mayor Cooper confirmed that the decision to reopen will be data driven, as opposed to date determinative. When Nashville’s Safer at Home order expires on May 1, Metro health officials will evaluate case data and other metrics collected over the past 14 days to determine if there has been a positive, stable improvement necessary to begin Phase One of the reopening plan.

We understand that yesterday's spike in Covid cases was the result of significant increases in the amount of people tested, and that the 14 day period did not restart. We see more testing as a good thing .

Stay tuned for more news as this story develops. 

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