Bar owners argue for clarity in Nashville’s roadmap for re-opening

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Mayor Cooper’s four-phased roll out to re-open Nashville has been called a road map. But some small businesses, even the best known still fear they’ll get lost. 

“It makes no sense to have a third of Broadway open, and not all of it, because of a measurement of food.” 

Barrett Hobbs runs three honky-tonks downtown. He says he’s one of a number of owners looking for clarity on the timing of each phase.

“According to the vice mayor, if you do the math, you would go a week from tomorrow.” 

That would mean phase one, if all goes to plan, would start next Friday. At that point, the mayor’s order allows restaurants to open at half capacity. Broadway bars, because their profits come from more than 50 percent alcohol sales, have to wait. Hobbs argues it’s an arbitrary number since they do sell food. 

“If the customers don’t want to buy a cheeseburger, it’s not our fault,” he says. “As long as we can sell them a cheeseburger, they should be counted as a restaurant.”

Bars enter the re-opening road map but not until phase three, which could mean another five to six weeks, or longer. And that also means no music, no bands playing inside bars. 

“It’s too far, May 15 was about as far as we were really comfortable at, being at a zero,” says Hobbs. “It’s just an unneeded stress on the industry and it’s really unfair to the musicians, as much money as the musicians generate for the city and this state.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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