NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Broadway Downtown Entertainment Coalition is expressing frustrations even after Mayor Cooper's announcement the city will move to Phase 3 of reopening on October 1.
The coalition first says Mayor Cooper misspoke when he credited the Convention & Visitors Corporation as the catalyst for the Broadway and Downtown Entertainment Coalition's Be A Honky Tonk Hero.
The coalition wants to make it clear Be A Honky Tonk Hero was an effort created and funded directly by a group of owners of downtown businesses. The goal was to invest in a public information campaign to promote health and safety of visitors and employees.
The initiative was created because the coalition believes they can serve and operate safely, and also because employees have reached a "critical limit of financial distress" due to prolonged restrictions put on businesses.
The prolonged restrictions placed on bars and restaurants are leading to businesses having to close down permanently. According to the coalition, bars and restaurants are accounting for just over 100 of the over 27,000 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Nashville.
Even with newly updated capacity restrictions going into effect on Oct. 1 as the city moves to Phase 3 of reopening, the coalition says the restrictions still put a large burden on businesses' abilities to put employees and musicians to work consistently.
The coalition claims it understands how to keep patrons' behaviors in check as well as keep people safe inside businesses.
They are also frustrated as they claim they were promised a data drive approach to COVID-19, but they continue to be faced with "arbitrary" capacity limits and early closing times that prevent many Nashvillians from going to work, despite low COVID-19 cases being linked to bars and restaurants.
The coalition warns these current conditions will not keep businesses open much longer. Their full statement can be found below:
First, we’d like to correct something the Mayor said at his press conference yesterday morning. The Mayor misspoke and identified the Convention & Visitors Corporation as the catalyst for our Be A Honky Tonk Hero. We welcome all support, but wish to note Be A Honky Tonk Hero was a grassroots effort created and funded directly by a coalition of owners of downtown establishments to come together and invest significantly in a public information campaign to promote health and safety of visitors and employees. We did this because we know we can serve safely, and our employees have reached their critical limit of financial distress due the prolonged restrictive limitations put on our businesses.
Bars and restaurants continue to face the most significant prolonged restrictions that are ever increasingly leading to permanent closures and harming hard working Nashvillians who are seeing their opportunities limited and in many cases leaving the city for good. The data continues to not support extreme capacity limitations, with bars and restaurants accounting for just over a 100 of the more than 27,000 cases of COVID that have occurred in Nashville.
Again, even the updated capacity restrictions remains strenuous for our ability to put employees and musicians to work consistently and help them earn a living. We’ve worked through COVID for months now and understand how to control behaviors and keep people safe inside our establishments, something we cannot control when the streets are overcrowded due to limited capacity for people coming downtown to go.
We were promised a data driven approach to COVID, yet we continue to be limited by arbitrary capacity limits and closing times that hinder the ability of Nashvillians to go to work despite incredibly low numbers traced to bars and restaurants. This is not sustainable for much longer and undoubtedly more establishments that provide character and put the Music in Music City will be gone permanently if reason does not prevail soon.