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Fairgrounds COVID-19 Shelter Begins Phased Closing

Joseph Pleasant, 615-880-2011

Operations at the Nashville Fairgrounds begin transition back to event space.

The COVID-19 Overflow Shelter located at the Nashville Fairgrounds has started the process of closing as Metro Nashville Davidson County increases its vaccination levels, including among the homeless community.

The current COVID-19 Overflow Shelter will schedule to close by July 1, 2021 depending on vaccination levels in Metro Nashville Davidson County.

“There continues to be a higher number of those at the temporary shelter that have been vaccinated thanks to the hard work of the Health Department and other community organizations,” said Dr. Gill Wright, Interim Chief Medical Officer for the Metro Public Health Department. “With vaccinations continuing to increase it is safe to begin shifting services found at the temporary shelter back to the community organizations that serve the homeless, while also monitoring the process over the next three months.

When the fairgrounds shelter first opened it was done to accomplish multiple objectives, including providing a place for people experiencing homelessness to have shelter while awaiting COVID-19 test results or to recover following a COVID-19 diagnosis.

The fairgrounds also acted as a place to allow people who are well to have a place to stay that allows them to be socially distanced from each other. This was done to help reduce the population in the city’s primary homeless shelters where social distancing and isolating COVID-19 positive clients was increasingly difficult.

Planned COVID-19 Overflow Shelter Phased Closing:

Community Vaccination Shelter Action Estimated Date
20% Women’s Shelter Closes April 1
30% 1/3 Population Reduction May 1
40% Additional 1/3 Population Reduction June 1
50% COVID-19 Overflow Shelter Closes July 1

People awaiting COVID-19 test results and people who are COVID-19 Positive will be able to remain at the shelter throughout the phased closing of the overflow shelter.

“This combined effort to provide a safe, stable and sustainable shelter helped protect our unhoused neighbors from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Director Chief William Swann said. “Now, due to vaccinations the community is returning to pre-pandemic activity and we are happy to start the process of returning the Nashville Fairgrounds to the pre-pandemic events so many people enjoyed and missed.”

Once shelter operations cease, the Nashville Fairgrounds will need approximately 6-8 weeks to complete warranty work that has been postponed due to the pandemic, repair any damage, and clean/sanitize the facility.

“The Fairgrounds Nashville has been happy to assist in the care and temporary housing of Nashville’s vulnerable homeless community during the pandemic,” Nashville Fairgrounds Executive Director Laura Womack said. “It’s a good indication that Nashville is on the mend as we begin this transition to decommission the shelter. We look forward to safely resuming events in the near future.”

Nashville Fairgrounds Statistics Since March 26, 2020:

  • Meals Provided: 135,526
  • Snacks Provided (2x Daily): 22,749
  • People Provided Case Management: 437
  • People Placed in Housing: 76
  • People Sheltered (unduplicated): 1313
  • People Provided Clothing Assistance: 537
  • Rides Provided: 3100
  • People signed up for Food Stamps: 38
  • People assisted w/ Social Security Cards: 40
  • People provided employment assistance: 52

The Metro Public Health Department, Neighborhood Health, and St. Thomas Health continue their collaborative effort along with 19 organizations to provide 100 percent access to the COVID-19 vaccine for persons in Nashville experiencing homelessness.

The Metro Public Health Department, Neighborhood Health and Saint Thomas Health will provide Johnson & Johnson vaccinations at several encampments and service provider sites as part of this effort.

You can find more information about Metro Nashville Davidson County’s ongoing COVID-19 response at COVID19.Nashville.Gov.