Nashville Mayor Asks Bars On Lower Broadway To Close Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Many Nashville hotspots are being asked to close until further notice due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Nashville Mayor John…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 15, 2020

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Nashville, Tenn.; Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Many Nashville hotspots are being asked to close until further notice due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper issued a statement on Sunday (March 15) regarding an emergency meeting with the Metro Nashville Board of Health.

“At my request, the Metro Nashville Board of Health will hold a special emergency meeting today at 5 p.m. to take action on a declaration of a public health emergency to address COVID-19,” the mayor’s statement reads. “The Metro Public Health Department possesses the authority to take extraordinary actions to protect public health. The department and Coronavirus Task Force will communicate specific policy requirements that mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19.”

He went on to identify the specific requests he is making.

“In advance of that meeting, I am asking for specific, short-term action to be taken effective immediately:

  1. Bars on Lower Broadway and throughout Davidson County to close their businesses until further notice;
  2. Restaurants (public facilities where the sale of food comprises more than 50 percent of revenue) to limit their regular maximum seating to under 50 percent of capacity, capped at no more than 100 individuals allowed.
  3. Bar service at restaurants should be limited to 50 percent of capacity with no standing allowed.

We also are asking restaurants to take social distancing precautions, including the spacing out of tables for customers. We are encouraging restaurants to remain open as both a measure of social wellbeing and because of their important role in helping to feed our community. We appreciate the businesses, churches, schools, sporting event organizers, and all other organizations that have closed or taken actions on social distancing. These actions are consistent with other best practices being rolled out in Chicago, Washington, DC, New Orleans, and other major cities nationwide. Nashville is a leading destination in both global tourism and healthcare, and it is our responsibility to set an example in keeping our community safe.”

The news comes just hours after several Nashville-based artists took to social media to chastise those who aren’t taking the social distancing seriously.

Maren Morris, who is expecting to welcome her first child with Ryan Hurd any day now, was not thrilled when she saw a video of a packed bar on lower Broadway. Bobby Bones also spoke up, calling their actions “irresponsible.”

Bars and restaurants owned by country artists such as Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson and Florida Georgia Line will likely be impacted by the mayor’s request.

The move comes as concerts, sporting events and other mass gatherings are being halted in an effort to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus outbreak. Public gathering laws have now been put in place across the country after health officials urged the American public to begin social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

UPDATE: Steve Smith, who owns Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Steakhouse and The Diner, called Mayor Cooper’s request unconstitutional and said that he will not be closing his establishments.

“Unless there’s a statewide mandate that directs all bars and restaurants to be closed, the request made by Mayor Cooper is unconstitutional as he is targeting a select group of businesses,” Smith said in a statement.

Luke’s 32 Bridge, Ole Red Nashville, FGL House and Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar responded to the Mayor’s request and will be closing their doors as of Sunday evening.

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