NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — For the second weekend in a row, a portion of Lower Broadway was closed to traffic Friday and Saturday night.
News 2’s cameras were rolling while crews transformed the area of Lower Broadway between 4th and 5th to a pedestrian-only walkway, and some bar-goers were caught off guard.
Garland Hudgins came to Music City for the weekend from North Carolina.
“We were up on the second floor (of a bar) and we kept hearing all this noise. That was them pushing the metal barriers out the way and I’m like what in the world,” Hudgins said.
Vanderbilt student, Maya Levinson, said she thinks adding more space to Broadway has made a big difference.
“I was here a couple weeks ago and everyone was like packed onto the sidewalks and it made me really uncomfortable,” Levinson said. “So seeing everyone more spaced out, the police here handing out masks, it definitely changes the vibe.”
Mayor John Cooper originally closed the portion of Lower Broad during Labor Day Weekend to create more room for social distancing as thousands of tourists flocked under the neon lights.
Under Metro’s modified phase 2 COVID-19 guidelines, bars can still only serve 25 people inside at a time. Restaurants can be filled at half capacity.
Some people think it’s time to loosen those restrictions, including the Broadway and Downtown Entertainment Coalition. Last week, they released a statement saying the small capacities are what’s causing long lines and crowded sidewalks.
Through the end of September, the area of Broadway between 4th and 5th will be closed to traffic on Fridays and Saturdays between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm.
For now, it’s a temporary fix, which would require further discussion between TDOT, The Federal Highway Administration, and Metro City Council to become permanent.
Discussion will continue at Metro’s upcoming Tuesday night meeting.