Nashville’s Roadmap to Reopening during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Important information for Nashville’s residents during the reopening phases

The City of Nashville has decided to reopen for business. To avoid a surge in deadly COVID-19 cases, the city has created a 4-part roadmap explaining how it will begin the process, what the rules are, and what needs to happen in order to keep everyone as safe as possible while we wait for a vaccine.

At Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we understand that the road to recovery is going to be long, and it is probably going to be hard. Our first duty has always been to protect the people of Nashville when they needed us the most. We have created this guide to answer your questions about the reopening, and to address any lingering concerns you have. We’re all in this together, and we are here to help.

What is the roadmap to reopening Nashville?

The roadmap to reopening Nashville (or “roadmap”) is a 4-phase plan to reopen the city’s businesses, so we can get back to work, school, and play.

Why has Nashville implemented this roadmap?

Every state in the country, including Tennessee, is suffering emotionally and economically. The truth is, we cannot keep the country closed until there is a vaccine, because we just don’t know when that vaccine will be ready. That means that we need to find a way to move forward that is safe for everyone.

Governor Bill Lee has said that he will not extend the statewide shelter-in-place order past April 30th, and that he wants to get Tennesseans back to work. However, he has not provided a specific plan for how he will reopen the state. This is part of the reason why Nashville has created its own plan.

Where are we now in the plan to reopen?

Nashville is still in the planning stages. Mayor John Cooper and the Tennessee Major Metro Reopening Task Force are working towards Phase One at this time.

(Roadmap to Reopening)

How will Nashville decide if it’s time to move onto a new phase?

Unlike other areas, Nashville is basing its roadmap on data, not dates. That means that in order to proceed with each phase, there must be “positive improvement/stability in the metrics for 14 days.” In other words, if the number of people who are getting sick does not improve or remain stable for at least 14 straight days, Nashville will not proceed from one phase to the next.

Other factors used to determine the reopening schedule include:

  • The ability to provide adequate testing for employees, vulnerable populations, and those who have been exposed to the virus
  • Rapidity of test results
  • Effective contact tracing
  • The capacity of our healthcare system to handle incoming patients, such as:
    • Having enough beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Being able to refill the state stockpile

Nashville has also created the following goals and metrics for reopening:

  1. Disease transmission under control: Sustained decrease in cases maintained for 14 days
  2. Detect every case: 1 test per 100-150 residents per week; results within 24 hours
  3. Isolate every case: Interview cases within 1 day of test results. Capacity to contact cases daily and support isolation at home or alternate location established.
  4. Trace every contact: Close contacts interviewed within 2 days of case report. Capacity to support quarantine at home or alternate location established.
  5. Sources of exposure identified and preventive measured instituted: Case interviews identify likely source of exposure, and prevention plan developed for identified “hot spots.”
  6. Risk of importing new cases can be “managed”: Healthcare facilities have written plans for managing expected patients and sufficient PPE, beds, ventilators based on best available local models. Report to State twice weekly available equipment/facilities.
  7. Schools, workplaces, healthcare facilities have established preventive measures: Written plans that specify training, screening, and medical leave policies for employees. Plans should include procedures for interacting safely with customers including maintaining hygiene, minimizing close contact, and screening protocols such as temperature checks.
  8. Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal: Compliance with new normal monitored by mobility reports and exposure histories of new cases. Cloth masks are to be widely utilized by all citizens outside their residences to reduce the spread of disease.

(Learn more here)

What can I do to protect myself once Nashville reopens for business?

Right now, the best thing you can do is to focus on flattening the curve. That means staying inside, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands for 20 seconds – the very same things you’re already doing.

Once the city reopens, however, you may need to take some additional steps to protect yourself – especially if you have an underlying medical condition. You should contact your doctor to discuss those concerns, and then speak with your employer about next steps.

  1. Assessing workplace safety

Assessing whether your Nashville workplace is safe

CDC protocols for keeping employees safe

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for businesses to help keep their employees safe. These same guidelines will be applicable during the reopening of Nashville’s businesses. Some of those guidelines include:

  • Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home
  • Identifying where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work
  • Separating sick employees until they can go home or get medical treatment
  • Educating employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Implementing flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices

You can find a full list of CDC protocols here.

How Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can help if your workspace is unsafe

If your employer is running an unsafe workplace, or failing to implement proper safety procedures to protect employees, you don’t have to shoulder that worry alone: get a Gladiator on your side! Our attorneys have been helping Nashville workers for decades. We can guide you through:

  • Reporting unsafe practices to your immediate supervisor
  • Filing a complaint with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Blowing the whistle id the unsafe practices are widespread
  • Filing for workers’ compensation benefits if you get sick

We know that cases like these will likely get a lot of press, and that can be stressful. If you’re afraid of losing your job, or reluctant to report dangers because you don’t want to be singled out, you can trust us to fight to protect your rights AND your privacy.

Protecting loved ones in Nashville nursing homes and other residential facilities

Short-term and long-term guidance from the CDC

The CDC has prepared a plan for long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other residential facilities. This plan is multi-faceted, so that these facilities can address concerns right now, as well as in the future. The goal is to avoid what happened in Gallatin and in other nursing homes around the country, where the entire, vulnerable population was exposed to, and then contracted, COVID-19.

Short term guidance:

  • Keep unrecognized COVID-19 from entering the facility
  • Identify infections early and take actions to prevent spread
  • Assess current supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and initiate measures to optimize supply
  • Quickly recognize and manage severe illness

Long-term guidance

  • Educate residents, staff, and visitors about COVID-19, including all precautions the facility is taking, as well as any actions families can take to protect themselves
  • Create a plan for keeping family members informed
  • Evaluate anyone who presents with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Implement screening plans to ensure residents with fevers are identified quickly
  • Ensure all staff and residents have access to PPE, hand sanitizers, soap, and tissues
  • Implement sanitizing procedures for cleaning the facility
  • Enforce all procedures in-house and with visitors
  • Dedicate spaces for COVID-19 patients

You can find a full list of CDC protocols here.

How Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can help you protect your loved ones in nursing homes

Our Nashville nursing home lawyers have worked with families throughout Tennessee whose loved ones were neglected or abused. COVID-19 may be new, but negligence, sadly, is not. If the nursing home was truly negligent, there are some things we can help you with.

  1. We can make sure that Tennessee’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman is aware of what is happening.

An Ombudsman is there to advocate for the elderly, and to protect your loved one’s rights. Our Ombudsman is located right in Nashville:

Quiteka Moten
State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability
502 Deaderick Street, 9th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0860
Tel: 615-253-5412
Fax: 615-741-3309
Toll Free: 877-236-0013
TDD: 615-532-3893
Email: [email protected]

  1. We can make sure any abuse is reported to the authorities.

Nursing home staff and medical professionals are mandatory reporters. If they know of abuse, or have reasonable suspicion of abuse, they are required by law to report it. Failure to do so can land them in hot water with the law. We make sure that this behavior is reported.

  1. We can make sure that you know what your options are.

Do you want to file a lawsuit? Should you file a lawsuit? Is there another outcome you’re hoping to achieve? These are tough questions, and our team is here to help you answer them. Ultimately, our job is to guide you down whichever path you take, and offer you the support you need.

Getting help if you get hurt when Nashville reopens

The Scottish poet Robbie Burns wrote “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley,” but we know it as “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Or maybe you’ve heard it this way: Man makes plans, and God laughs.

And it’s true! As much as we plan, we cannot always control what happens to us, because we cannot control the actions of others. What we can control is how we react in those moments – and that’s where our Gladiators come in.

Rocky McElhaney Law Firm was founded for one reason, and one reason only: to help people take back control when someone else’s negligence has caused them harm. Sometimes it’s because of a negligent driver or an unsafe workspace; sometimes it’s because a company puts its profits above the needs and safety of the consumers. So if you feel like the world has gone a little crazy, or if you’re feeling stressed out, angry, or frightened of what the future holds, we hope you remember these two things:

  1. We’re all in this together.
  2. When you’re in need, we answer the call.

For our Nashville injury lawyers, that could mean preparing for a trial, or negotiating a settlement on your behalf. It could mean making sure you get to keep your job, or that you have a safety net if you get hurt. It could mean helping you or your loved one file for Social Security Disability Insurance or workers’ compensation benefits. Or maybe it means just sitting down (in-person or in front of your computer, via a video consultation) and talking about what matters most.

Helping Nashville move forward during the COVID-19 crisis

Living with COVID-19 is hard. Choosing the right lawyer to protect your rights shouldn’t be. Rocky McElhaney Law Firm will always fight to protect our community. If you or a loved one has suffered harm during the coronavirus outbreak, or during the reopening process for Nashville’s businesses, we are ready to answer the call. To schedule your free consultation with an injury lawyer in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Knoxville, call us today at 615-425-2500 or fill out our contact form.