NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Mayor John Cooper and the Metro Nashville Board of Health will hold a special emergency meeting Sunday at 5 p.m. to deliberate declaring a public health emergency.
In advance of the meeting, Mayor Cooper is also asking for specific, short-term action to be taken effective immediately:
- Bars on Lower Broadway and throughout Davidson County to close their businesses until further notice.
- 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 people allowed.
- Bar service at restaurants should be limited to 50 percent of capacity with no standing allowed.
The Metro Board of Health has scheduled an emergency meeting for today at 5:00 PM. In advance of that meeting, I am asking for specific, short-term action to be taken effective immediately regarding our bars and restaurants. pic.twitter.com/xxbuwYypbC— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) March 15, 2020
Mayor Cooper’s orders gained support from many people and official groups including Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Butch Spyridon, President & CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. Spyridon said in a statement:
“We are in full support of the decision of the Mayor and Metro Nashville Board of Health regarding bars and restaurants. Any short-term mitigation to slow the spread of this virus is invaluable to our long-term recovery and more importantly the health and safety of our community. We understand the hardship this may cause the thousands of frontline employees and hundreds of businesses, and we are working with local, state and federal officials in an effort to provide direct relief as soon as possible."
VUMC officials joined the support releasing this statement:
“Social distancing has proven to be one of our most effective strategies to combat the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19. We are working closely with, and fully support the actions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tennessee Department of Health and Metro Nashville Department of Health, along with Nashville’s Office of the Mayor, who have the well-being of all members of our community front of mind.”
The Chamber also released a statement showing their support to Mayor Cooper:
“The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce supports Mayor Cooper's actions regarding bars and restaurants. These are unusual circumstances and require extraordinary actions as directed by experts in the medical field.”
The actions were met with mixed reviews from the bars. Play Bar Dance, for example, made it known immediately on social media they would close and follow Cooper's orders.
Others, however, such as Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Honky Tonk Central and Kid Rock's called Cooper's request unconstitutional and said they would remain open until Governor Bill Lee issues a statewide mandate.