Upcoming large gatherings reviewed by Health Department to ensure safety | News

Noble Horvath

Over the course of October, several major events are planned, from the Presidential Debate at Belmont to fans returning to music venues or sporting arenas across Nashville. The city recently entered Phase Three of its safe reopening plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. With the phase, now most events […]

Over the course of October, several major events are planned, from the Presidential Debate at Belmont to fans returning to music venues or sporting arenas across Nashville.

The city recently entered Phase Three of its safe reopening plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. With the phase, now most events are allowed up to 500 guests again. There are exceptions with Nashville’s larger venues and events.

Metro Health Department officials tell NEWS4 before an event may continue, COVID safety plans are gone through in detail.

With the third Presidential Debate at Belmont in question, Metro Health Department says it’s reviewing the plans for the gathering.

“We want to make sure that everybody is wearing a face mask that’s in that debate room,” said Metro Health Department Director Dr. Michael Caldwell.

He says at any event permitted, masks and physical distancing are key if the city wants to continue seeing larger gatherings.

Metro Health’s goal is to go from allowing 10% or less capacity at big events to nearly 25% capacity overtime, if people can continue following safety procedures.

“So, it is an evolving process we’ve never done anything like this so we will find things that we need to address but we’re going to work with people as they pop up,” said Hugh Atkins with Metro Health Environmental Health Services.

People planning events are required to fill out a special application on Metro Nashville COVID-19 Dashboard page. Whether it’s a wedding, football game or the debate, a team with the Health Department then reviews safety plans looking at all the risk factors; like is the event indoors or out, will there be alcohol and how will the venue ensure everyone is following safety protocol like wearing a mask and staying distant.

“We want to increase people’s awareness and knowledge that we have to keep doing something this is not going away,” said Dr. Caldwell.

Of the more than 250 events that have been applied for, all have been approved said Health officials.

“All things don’t look the same to all people and all venues are not the same to all people,” said Atkins.

“A wedding might be whole bunch of people that know each other so right away that’s a higher risk because they’re more like to congregate and want to talk and hug,” said Dr. Caldwell.

Metro Health Officials also told NEWS4, the department is scanning through social media and online event pages for events that did not request permission with officials appearing at locations to follow up.

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