NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One notable exception to the state’s gradual reopening plan is tourist attractions.
Nashville’s tourism industry brings in billions of dollars a year for the city— but the future is uncertain for popular destinations like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum — who welcomed a record breaking 1.3 million visitors last year.
The museum announced Monday it will stay closed through May 31. CEO Kyle Young said specific measures and protocols will be in place once the museum reopens and staff will do everything they can to protect the community.
The Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry extended their closures to May 16 and outside of Music City, the Tennessee Aquarium and Dollywood are closed indefinitely.
With the virus still present, there is no true date for when attractions across the state can reopen.
“Here is what we don’t know. We don’t know when we will have solutions for the tourism industry regarding tourist attractions,” explained Mark Ezell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development.
“We know right now we are not encouraging travel from other states to come into our communities.” added Ezell.
According to Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s plan for reopening, museums and tourist destinations won’t be able to reopen until Phase 3 at limited capacity, which likely won’t begin until summer.
But Music City will welcome visitors again with an event to help the tourism industry bounce back.
The Academy of Country Music announced its 55th annual awards ceremony will be hosted at three of Nashville’s most beloved venues: the Ryman, Grand Ole Opry and the Bluebird Cafe.
The ceremony was originally supposed to be hosted in Las Vegas earlier in April.
CEO Damon Whiteside said he couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate the rich legacy of country music.
“Being this may be the first live awards show since the pandemic, we are proud to shine a national spotlight on this proud city and these beloved venues, our decision on our ability to have an audience will come at a later date based on the city’s health and science data,” said Whiteside.
Nashville will host the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sept. 16.