The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Phase One of the Nashville economy’s reopening plan is well underway, here’s what local restaurants have to say

A four-phase reopening plan released by the Mayor’s Office began its implementation on Monday; progression through each phase will depend on metrics related to the pandemic.
People sitting outside restaurant
Taco Mama, located in Hillsboro Village just off Vanderbilt’s campus, accepts the Commodore Card and is being impacted by Nashville’s Roadmap for Reopening. (Taco Mama Website)

Phase One of the four-phase Roadmap for Reopening Nashville began on Monday, May 11. This step allows retail stores, restaurants and bars serving food to resume operations at half capacity.

As of today, according to the Mayor’s Office’s Daily Metro COVID19 Press Update, there are 3,889 reported cases of COVID-19 in Davidson County. 2,409 individuals have recovered from the virus and 42 have died from confirmed cases. The total number of tests administered as of this publication is 40,893, meaning approximately 9.5 percent of tests conducted returned positive results.

With Phase One, K-12 schools will remain closed, gatherings of over ten people are still prohibited and residents must wear face coverings in public. At-risk individuals are urged to continue staying home, while working from home is encouraged if possible per the reopening procedures.

According to the Roadmap, before Phase One, the majority of businesses in Nashville had suspended their normal operations, with curbside service and takeout being an exception for food services. Although people are now able to shop and dine-in, dining establishments must observe specific regulations such as cleaning all surfaces after use, daily employee screening and utilization of face masks per the reopening plan. Bars, entertainment and sports venues, salons, massage parlors, gyms and public recreation facilities like playgrounds are to remain closed during Phase One.

The remaining three phases of the plan will allow restaurants and retail stores to resume operations at increased capacities, open previously closed businesses/facilities and ease restrictions on the public.

Phase Two will see the limit for gatherings raised to 50 people, restaurants and retail stores opening at 75 percent capacity, public recreational facilities reopening with social distancing and salons opening by appointment only. 

Next, Phase Three will have nonresidential K-12 schools reopening, the limit for gatherings raised to 100 people, restaurants and retail stores opening at full capacity, bars and entertainment venues opening at half capacity and gyms reopening. 

Finally, during Phase Four, masks will still be recommended but become optional, gatherings over 100 people will be permitted, sports and large event venues will open and all other businesses may operate in full capacity while observing the necessary health precautions such as cleaning surfaces and employee screening. 

According to the Roadmap for Reopening, progression to subsequent phases will be determined by “positive improvement/stability in the metrics for 14 days.” Returns to previous phases can be expected if “there is a significant decrease of metrics.”

Vanderbilt recently introduced its own Return to Campus Plan covered in the recent Zoom town hall hosted by Interim Chancellor Susan Wente and Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain. Vanderbilt’s plan also follows a four-phase structure and proposes similar regulations, but remains largely separate from the city of Nashville’s plans.

Aryeh’s Kitchen, a popular kosher food truck located on Vanderbilt’s campus, commented on lockdown difficulties and the impact of Phase One regulations in regard to their business.

“Aryeh’s Kitchen mainly provides for Vanderbilt students and staff. Therefore, once campus closed down it forced us to close the truck as well,” Rabbi Gavriel Isenberg, Manager of Aryeh’s Kitchen, said in an email to The Hustler.

Isenberg also stated that Aryeh’s Kitchen will be implementing the daily employee screenings, usage of face masks and social distancing protocol recommended by the Mayor’s Office.

“It is still to be determined how many employees are feasible to have on the truck during the shift being that it is a small work space,” Isenberg said.

Local businesses such as Taco Mama in Hillsboro Village are also eager to get back to serving the Nashville community safely and responsibly.

“We’ll remove some tables and chairs and make sure that people stay six feet apart,” Will Haver, founder of Taco Mama said. “We’re increasing our outside seating because we believe it will make social distancing easier, and we’ll go at half-capacity. We miss doing what we do and controlling our product.” 

Haver also spoke of the business changes in the wake of COVID-19, including the ability to order via email and the placement of social distancing marks on the floor. According to Haver, a dedicated online ordering platform for Taco Mama is currently being developed, although he added that these adaptations have not been easy.

As for the future of Taco Mama in Nashville, Haver says that it is here to stay.

“The Nashville community has supported us all the way,” Haver said. “We’re not going anywhere, and we’ll come back stronger than ever.”

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About the Contributor
Thomas Hum, Former Managing Editor
Thomas Hum ('23) is from Fort Lee, New Jersey, majoring in economics with a minor in business. He previoulsy served as managing editor, news copy editor as well as a staff writer for the News section. In his free time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, playing guitar, watching movies and listening to music.    
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