Delta variant vs. convention season: What does this mean for Nashville hospitality?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — COVID-19 is complicating things once again, as the Delta variant leads to another wave of COVID-19 cases.

In Davidson County, the positivity rate up nine percent since June, now surpassing 11 percent. Remember, officials want to keep it under 10 percent.

“Caution has bubbled up, with caution comes concern,” said Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp, who says, unfortunately, the odds of us ‘rolling back’ a bit are strong.

As predicted, our best month out of sixteen was June and now we’re facing what could be a strong Fall if things improve.

“We think, at best, attendance drops off in some of the groups and you have to assume now some will cancel, they haven’t yet, but we’re getting prepared for that news,” Spyridon said.

Spyridon says several hundred meetings are currently on the books, with October being our biggest month. Though no cancelations have happened yet, Spyridon says people are starting to ask questions about where Nashville stands with mandates and vaccinations.

It comes as Metro announces additional measures to protect public health, now requiring masks in government buildings starting August 5.

“I think mask mandates and vaccination requirements are more likely than not in the near future,” Spyridon said.

And as some COVID-19 precautions are replaced, Music City’s Big Machine Grand Prix is proceeding with caution, expected to host 110,000 people over the course of three nights, with the first event starting Thursday.

“The race is going to go on and they’re taking appropriate precautions themselves, and we’ve had those conversations,” Spyridon said.

Those conversations are now moving into concerts as Garth Brooks announced Tuesday that he’s assessing the remainder of his stadium tour due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country.

“It’s not surprising that that’s being considered, but very disappointing. Understandable at the same time.”

No matter what happens in our future, right now, Spyridon says we’re heading in the wrong direction and says if we want true normalcy, we must turn to the COVID-19 vaccines.

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