NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The streets of Music City were still bustling over the weekend, despite new orders in place. Among them, party buses, ordered by Mayor Cooper to close.
Restaurants in Nashville that serve alcohol required to close early only to find party buses lined up outside loading up passengers and keeping that party rolling.
“It was very, very surprising,” Rose Adams who witnessed several buses operating told News 2.
Mayor Cooper expanded amendment order 9 Friday afternoon, ordering “passenger vehicles for hire that are subject to the authority of the Tennessee Department of safety on which passengers are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages” to close effecting party barges and party buses.
“Definitely the party buses were alive and kickin’,” Adams told News 2.
She said while they were shuffled out of a restaurant at 10 pm, party buses seemed to be just cranking up.
“There were 2 or 3 buses with probably 30 plus, it was definitely standing room only… no face masks, no nothing. You know, seems the rules are a little bit arbitrary for restaurant industry versus transportation industry,” she explained.
Anderson said it’s a health concern for health care workers, her immunocompromised family and others in the community. She also pointed to the employees at restaurants having to make sacrifices while businesses like this party on.
“I’m all about hospitality in Nashville we definitely need that and we need the tourism for sure but just make it an even playing field for everyone.”
The owner of the party truck company Hell on Wheels said he is going to keep his trucks rolling, but without alcohol.
“The trucks are going to be totally dry, there’s not going to be any alcohol on the trucks, there’s not going to be any alcohol consumed on the trucks and all my riders are going to be wearing masks,” Lyon explained.
He says now his party trucks aren’t any different than typical tour buses rolling through the city.
It’s a joke like what’s the difference, what’s the difference? I’ve poured my blood sweat and tears into this business for over a year now just to see it get decimated,” said Lyon.
The small business owner points out that he knows COVID-19 is a serious health concern and he wants to do his part in fighting the virus.
“There’s a way to address public health and COVID and operate safely and responsibly without massacring our tourism industry.”
Hell on Wheels isn’t alone, Off The Wagon Tractor Tours sent News 2 the following statement:
The Metro Health Department has amended order #9 and we have listened. Several companies, Off The Wagon tours, Honky Tonk Party Express, Nashville Party Barge and others, have chosen to not allow alcohol while on tours and adhere to the amendment. This has been an inconvenience to our customers but we strive to make our tours as safe as possible as always. We have been in contact with the Metro Police about the situation and even allowed some to document our situation with photos showing no alcohol. We are trying to survive as businesses, keeping the safety of others in mind. We’ll keep adapting as all businesses should to keep the businesses alive and ensure the jobs of our employees.
News 2 reached out to the Metro Health Department for clarification, who said operation without alcohol is permitted under the emergency order. Customers must also wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )