While a one-two gut punch in the Donelson, Hermitage and Old Hickory areas have some on the mat, officials try to remain positive and informed.
Though an EF-3 tornado put its fist into the heart of Donelson, especially Donelson Christian Academy and Stanford Estates, as well as parts of the business community, local leaders said ingenuity, guts and perseverance have their shield against both post tornado and the days that followed that brought the COVID-19 virus. The mindset is survival and support.
While Donelson, Hermitage and Old Hickory schools, as well as all Davidson County schools, are closed indefinitely, the metro school system is taking care of its own.
Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce executive director Terri Nutter has assessed her districts.
“We were really just trying to normalize after the March 3 tornado,” she said. “Now, it has become a two-fold recovery – tornado and COVID-19.”
At a March 22 press conference, Mayor John Cooper issued a safer at home order for all of Davidson County for the next 14 days. The order was given in an effort to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
The order closed nonessential businesses and urged people to stay at home unless they have an essential need for 14 days.
Grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies remain open. Restaurants are able to provide take-out, delivery and drive-thru services. Additionally, Cooper said there's no need for panic buying large amounts of supplies as stores will remain open.
Residents may still go outside for fresh air, but the mayor's office asked that people keep 6 feet of distance from others.
Nutter said local small businesses and restaurants are trying to keep things going and considering their employees.
“They depend on foot traffic but are now going to delivery and curbside,” said Nutter. “They are working around the clock to figure things out.”
Nutter said local Uber delivery has offered free restaurant delivery, as are many restaurants.
“They aren’t charging delivery fees here locally,” she said.
They are adhering to the rules, for locals and workers.
Nutter said while Cracker Barrel on Stewarts Ferry Pike remained open, there were unheard of acts of $100 tips.
Nutter said as long as Party Fowl remained open and the kitchen could keep operating, all employees and their families will get food.
“Our small businesses are trying to surge forward,” she said.
Many are new, and it takes at least a couple years to establish, and many in the area haven’t met that mark yet.
“They are up against such a small margin of profit, most small businesses can falter, and some of ours haven’t met that two-year mark,” she said. “We have to hope they pull through this.”
As of Saturday, Vittles, McNamara’s Irish Pub, Los Tress Amigos, Party Fowl, Wine Down Nashville, Nectar, Sunflower Bakehouse, Greek Deli, Zaxby’s, Amber Falls Winery, Jackson Downs Liquors, Scoreboard, Hermitage Steakhouse and others were still doing take-out, curbside and delivery.
Nutter said the chamber is pulling together a list of options from local restaurants and businesses and sharing them on social media and websites.
“I have never seen something like this, this quarantine, in my lifetime” said Nutter.
Nutter said recently restaurants offered party packs at ideal prices and deep discounts on food. Party Fowl had an $18 plate of enchiladas curbside. Nectar and other restaurants have similar specials.
Residents, customers, owners and more just want to sustain until things normalize. Gift certificates, online purchases and even oil changes from afar are options to help businesses support their bottom lines until relief appears again.