NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The big outdoor events that put Nashville on the world stage may stay quiet for a year or more - that's the word from the head of Metro Nashville's coronavirus task force.
Events like the Fourth of July celebration, New Year's Eve and the CMA's might not happen anytime soon.
"I grew up in this city and I love all the traditions we have in this city. And the short answer is yes, one day we hope to do that. And that day is when there's a vaccine," said Dr Alex Jahangir.
Jahangir said a vaccine could come as soon as the fall, or it could take a year or eighteen months,
It's not good news for business owners like TomKats owner Tom Morales, who runs Acme Feed and Seed and other restaurants downtown. Morales is waiting for loans to keep his businesses afloat.
"I have 400 people depending on us to re-emerge as a small business," Morales told News 4's Nancy Amons.
No one is quite sure when those employees they will get back to work; these days Lower Broadway's honky tonks feel as lonely as a country song.
Nashville's mayor is working with three other big city mayors and a task force of business and health leaders on a time line.
"We want to do it, we need to do it, we want to do it s quickly as possible, but we need to do it safely," Mayor John Cooper said.
The risk is rushing and doing it wrong, causing a second wave of infection, said Dr James Hildreth, an infectious disease expert.
"One person could be responsible for one million infections on their own, " Hildreth said.
For now, Hildreth said, we must maintain social distancing.
The hard part for bar and restaurant owners is - how do you do that? Can you operate a restaurant or bar with half the patrons in order to observe social distancing? Morales asked if the landlords will accept half of their rent money.
Morales says Nashville's honky-tonks, when they reopen, may look more like the ones we grew up with.
"Holding on to what's authentic and real will help us reemerge," Morales said.
Mayor Cooper said he doesn't have a timeline for what businesses will open first. He said the task force will start meeting next week.