NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A Friday night isn’t a night off from work for Metro Public Health’s Director Dr. Michael Caldwell.
The health professional spends it on Lower Broadway monitoring the area, looking for ways to improve social distancing and educating tourists on the mask mandate.
As he patrols in his golf cart, he sees that while the block of Broadway between 4th and 5th Avenue is being utilized for lines and keeping space, other bars are left with their lines still on the sidewalk, wrapping around the building.
“We’re going to have the beginning of the line here and then we’re going to have the line go back here,” Caldwell tells patrons of Jason Aldean’s as they wait to go in.
With a megaphone to his mouth, he makes the change, opening the sidewalk to foot traffic.
“I think we made a tremendous difference,” he says. “The cooperation of the owners is really great, we want to make it work for them, we want it to work for everybody.”
From the bars on Broadway to the Ryman Auditorium, Caldwell continues to make sure the new precautions are being followed and that they’re working.
Until last week “Live at the Ryman” was the only way to see a show there. “Last week we had 125 people, only 5% capacity. Now we went to 250 people only about 10% capacity. I would say that, that is a very low risk environment.”
He says it’s all a balancing act but admits with the masks and socially distanced seats, “there’s never zero risk, but here I think the risk is very very low.”
Caldwell continues, “Lets see how we can separate the low risk from the high risk. We’ll never be able to get no risk but I think people should feel comfortable that we’re really searching, trying to be creative, trying to one on one open different opportunities.”
The “pilot program” of opening will continue Saturday at the Fairgrounds race track. Caldwell says they’ve been cleared to open at 25% in the stands, socially distanced of course to see how it works.
Then Monday, the Titans season opener (though an away game) will get special treatment as well. The Mayor is allowing bars to stay open until 30 minutes after the game ends.
Caldwell commenting, “What a thrill that it’s a Monday night football game and we’re going to be able to preview what bars and restaurants are going to look like to stay open a little later. I think Mayor Cooper made the right decision absolutely to say let’s try it out on a Monday, lower risk. Lets get people to enjoy Titans football at their favorite place, socially distanced, safely.”