NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After sharp increases in COVID-19 cases in Davidson County, Nashville now moves into a modified version of Phase Two of the city’s roadmap to reopening plan.
“Beginning Friday, July 3rd, and for the next several weeks at least, Nashville will revert to a ‘Phase Two with modifications’ of the ‘Roadmap for Reopening Nashville,” explained Mayor Cooper in a release.
The total number of confirmed and probable cases in Davidson County grew by 608 in the past 24 hours as of Thursday.
Under the new order, bars must remain closed for a minimum of 14 days. Restaurants, gyms and high-touch businesses may open at 50% capacity, retail stores at 75% capacity and gatherings must be limited to 25 people.
Basketball courts, dogs parks, splash pads, skate parks, and recreational sports leagues will remain open in Phase Two.
Under the new modifications, businesses where their main source of revenue is from the sale of beer or alcohol will have to close for at least 14 days.
Health leaders have found a record number of clusters at bars that have infected customers, employees and musicians, which is why they have to shut their doors.
Bar owners say they understand the need to protect the public from COVID-19, but there has to be a balance between business and public health.
“At this point with the opening/closing, opening/closing, it’s a lot of unknown for us. So we’re kind of just playing it by ear, hoping that we can power through these times. We want to be responsible as much as possible. We want to contribute to being a solution to the global pandemic but at the same time, we got to figure out how to keep our business alive as well,” explained Matt Fung-a-fat, owner of Harding House Brewing.
Once bars do reopen, customers will have to stay seated and establishments will have to close at 10 p.m. Everyone must still wear a mask or face covering while out in public and gatherings limited to 25 people.
As business who rely on alcohol sales to profit close their doors, artists who rely on tip money in Music City are uncertain about the future.
For musicians like Chris Ferrara, the return to the stage was short-lived.
“Its awful that so many people are going to be impacted by this. So many people who were out of jobs. So many people who got off unemployment just because they could go back to work. bartenders, servers musicians, we have to go right back to it,” said Ferrara.
Ferrara said there is no way he could have planned for something like this but he’s not shocked by the decision made by the city.
“As you can see, a lot of people do not follow the rules and don’t follow the guidelines. So we have to move backwards before we can move forwards.”
The new guidelines now include wearing a mask, which was not mandated before Nashville moved back to a modified version of Phase Two.
“These people are being social distanced because their tables are a part, but people were still sharing drinks and still dancing and sweating up on each other, which is alarming because our cases go up,” explained Ferrara.
As for when live music returns to Music City, Ferrara said for him, it’s a game of wait-and-see.
“They told me two weeks, we will see if it is two weeks, we will see if it is two months, it was three and a half months last time so we will see.”
The downtown Nashville fireworks display for the Fourth of July was cancelled by Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.
“After putting together a small July 4th celebration that prioritized the health and safety of our city, we have decided to cancel the short fireworks show we had planned for downtown,” explained Buch Spyridon, President and CEO of NCVC.