NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Although a new ordinance banning alcohol from unenclosed entertainment vehicles took effect Wednesday, businesses said the regulation really hit their pocketbooks over the weekend.
“It’s like numbers are way down; business is way down,” Sprocket Rocket manager Dustin Olson said.
Olson said Sprocket Rocket sees an average of up to 70 rides on any given Saturday. On the first Saturday of the new regulation, the company only had 10 rides.
“The whole week has been answering the phone and either canceling or telling people, ‘Hey, sorry, we can’t have alcohol on these,’ and a lot of them just wanted their money back because of that. Others are like, ‘Heck yeah we’ll do it; it will be fun regardless,’” Olson said.
Riders explained their reaction when they first learned about the new regulation.
“Where can we buy alcohol before? And how many stops are we going to make to get alcohol?” asked Alex Mattuchio visiting from Boston.
Others said no booze turned them off to the idea.
“I wouldn’t go on it if you [aren’t] able to experience the full experience from it. That’s what we looked at before we came,” said Melissa Kemmere visiting from Canada.
The weekend also brought workarounds like plexiglass used by some companies to enclose their vehicles.
Ordinance sponsor Freddie O’Connell said the regulation was an important first step until transportainment vehicles can apply for alcohol permits, hopefully in April.
“This is the first step in a regulatory process for this class of entertainment transportation vehicles,” O’Connell said during the October 19th Metro Council meeting.
The owner of Sprocket Rocket said party bikes have been regulated for years with their own set of rules. He said he agreed with regulating all entertainment vehicles.
“The party bikes have been regulated since 2018,” Sprocket Rocket owner Emmit Martin explained. “We have cut off times. We have rules; we’ve been abiding by those. The party vehicles, the trucks and the tractors and everything else out there, they have not been under any regulations….they need to make sure that they’re CDL drivers. They need to make sure that they’re just following the same rules we have to follow as party bikes.”
Martin said he’s been told by city leaders party bikes could have alcohol back as soon as the end of the month. He hopes it comes back sooner rather than later. He asked the city consider the number or tourists entertainment vehicles bring to the city.
“I just hope that the city leaders do what they say they’re going to do and give us alcohol back because we’re a legit business. We do over 100,000 people alone just with our company, so with all the companies we’re over three-quarters of a million people. That’s a huge amount of money being lost in tax dollars and in revenue and in jobs,” Martin said.
Metro police announced a new task force that will be checking for violators Thursday nights through Sunday nights. Although they hope to see voluntary compliance, violators could face a $50 fine.