FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — Party buses that have been shut down under Mayor John Cooper and Nashville Public Health orders found a new home this weekend in Franklin.
News 2 has learned party buses from transpotainment businesses such as Honky Tonk Party Express and bearing the names of TopGolf and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row have been spotted driving around the Cool Springs area.
Franklin Police Department tells News 2 that several vehicles were spotted around that area and have since been shut down from operating. A bus driver was cited for violation of the city’s noise ordinance, and multiple people were given warnings for violating the city’s no open container law.
Various photos sent to News 2 show multiple patrons on board the party buses, not adhering to social distancing or wearing masks. One particular photo on the back of the TopGolf-branded bus shows what appears to be red Solo cups along the side near the bus’ railing.
Williamson County is currently under a mask mandate order from County Mayor Rogers Anderson in all public settings where it is not safe to socially distance until Saturday, August 29. Franklin Police said nobody was cited for not wearing masks because people on the bus were drinking, which meets one of the criteria for exemption of mask requirements.
All “transpotainment” vehicles are banned from the streets of Nashville and Davidson County as of July 31, regardless of whether there is alcohol on-board, according to the Metro Public Health Department. In recent weeks, transpotainment vehicles have defied the city’s orders to cease operating which led to multiple public health orders. Despite these, they have continued operation and led to many criticizing the city for not doing enough to curb the problem.
On Friday, Cooper announced Public Health Order 10 that prohibits open consumption, possession, and late-night to-go sales of alcoholic beverages in downtown and midtown Nashville. He had previously announced an order closing all bars in Nashville and requiring restaurants serving alcohol to shut down by 10 p.m. daily has been extended through at least mid-August.
Metro Police said they will issue citations to anyone who defies Metro Public Health orders by not wearing masks. The news comes after weeks of criticism aimed at Nashville leaders for not ticketing crowds of maskless people partying downtown. On Thursday, Metro police issued 16 civil citations to people on Broadway for violating Nashville’s mask mandate. On Friday, 1 person was arrested and 20 citations were issued.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.
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