NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nearly 100 groups have canceled plans to visit Music City amid coronavirus concerns.
Those cancellations represent more than $25 million in direct spending, according to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.
“We are now at 99 cancellations,” Butch Spyridon told News 2.
Two dozen of those group cancellations came rolling in Tuesday, with concerns of the coronavirus.
“The fear is not tied to Nashville at all and really mostly it’s 14 days of quarantine that has people more fearful than anything we’ve seen at this point,” Spyridon explained.
He says Nashville is in a precarious situation, as one week ago today the city was struck by tragedy.
“It’s a tough spot as we take concern over the virus and the tornados but we also need to make sure that the city and the state have revenue come in to cover the extraordinary cost and that people have jobs. There’s nothing worse than having your car, Your home destroyed and then you can’t go to work,” Spyridon explained.
Signs on the front of the CMT building show it’s closed, employees saying it’s for coronavirus cleaning. While it’s day two that the cities most iconic building, the “Batman Building” has sat quietly with a note on the door confirming a case of the coronavirus from an occupant.
Spyridon says it’s a critical time to support the city’s local economy and that there is no immediate need for visitors to cancel their plans.
For those that are, he hopes to rebook their visit to music city.
“We are trying to save some of the business for the end of the year nobody knows where or when this is going to end,” he said.
Spyridon believes cancellations will likely continue for about a week before it levels off.
He says they are working closely with the health department to ensure the city is safe.
While Vanderbilt doctors are encouraging people to be cautious about large gatherings, the SEC tournament is set to tip-off Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
“Their intent, as long as its safe they wanted to go on and we certainly encourage that Nashville needs that right now in terms of a little good news and a little spending time to help prop our city up while we recover from both incidents,” said Spyridon.
The SEC is taking a number of steps out of caution, including posting CDC recommendations, restricting locker room access and providing additional hand sanitizers at all arena entrances, throughout the concourse, and in meeting rooms.