NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dozens of downtown Nashville employees rallied outside the courthouse Wednesday afternoon pushing to get back to work. Bartenders, musicians and servers were in the crowd, many who haven’t had steady income in five months.
“It’s beyond a source of desperation at this point, we have to get back to work,” said downtown musician, Matt Brandon.
They are pleading for Mayor Cooper to see their faces and hear their voices.
“We want to show Mayor Cooper that we are not a metric. We are not data. We are people with lives with livelihoods and we need to go back to work if we are going to survive,” said Crystal Eisermann, a bartender at Tootsies.
They’re all employees of the famed Music City. It’s where they thrive.
“I feel like part of my soul has been ripped out not coming and doing what you do everyday,” said Brandon.
It’s also where they survive, Brandon pointed out that he has a five-year-old son to support.
He said their message is simple, “We want to get back to work.”
“We are ready to get back down here and we want to do it safely,” explained Jamie Baxter who also performs downtown.
They are crying for equality to reopen under the same safety protocols as restaurants in Davidson county.
“I just wish we had the same opportunity and weren’t discriminated against like we are the number one source of the coronavirus,” said Eisermann.
They are vowing to open safely and pledging their commitment as ambassadors of health and safety.
“This is people that have made downtown their career, musicians and bartenders alike. This is a career for us and we will do everything in our power to keep everyone that walks in our door safe,” said Madden.
Mayor Cooper has said modified Phase Two will go through at least August 16, but many worry the date will be pushed back again.
A coalition of downtown operators recently launched a campaign, “Be A Honky Tonk Hero” urging visitors to play their part and vowing to do theirs to keep music city moving forward.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.