NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Some downtown business owners are outraged that their neighbors are violating the public health emergency orders.

“It’s real disappointing actually,” Tom Morales owner of ACME Feed & Seed and The Southern Steak & Oyster told News 2. 

He said seeing the images of packed bars makes him angry.

“I really think they should be shut down, because they are hurting my business,” stated Morales.

Thirteen businesses were cited over the weekend for not following the guidelines for public health emergency orders 4 and 6.

“The worst fear we have is irresponsibility creates another shut down and that to us is more damaging than waiting. It just hastens our demise. We can only get this right one time,” said Morales.

Kid Rock’s and Honky Tonk Central were among those cited downtown, the owner saying it’s a double standard to allow thousands of people to march in the streets.

“I think it’s a joke that anybody would even compare the two. I think 150 years of social injustice is going to create anger, drinking a beer on a Friday night? Come on follow the rules everybody else does,” said Morales.

His businesses still sit empty, while they study the science behind COVID-19 and if his neighbors don’t follow the guidelines he’s afraid opening day will continue getting pushed back.

“If this pandemic spreads and they shut down lower Broadway again, instead of everybody being reasonable and taking their time and getting it right it hurts me and it hurts every other business that’s trying to be responsible.”

Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp released the following statement to News 2:

“We are concerned about any local business that does not follow health protocols. We cannot afford a setback, and if we are going to open successfully and grow our economy, it is imperative that everyone follows health department guidelines. Our Good to Go program was designed to unify the community and hopefully add peer pressure to compliance. We are disappointed in this weekend’s citations, and we hope we can get back on track. To be clear, citations were not just issued to downtown businesses or just to those that are tourist related. As well, crowds were not just made up of tourists but were also locals. Unfortunately, with hotel occupancy so low, we know those large crowds can’t be all visitors.”

Right now Morales is working on a virtual music festival, featuring more than 50 local artists performing from a number of historic Nashville locations like the Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe. “Keep the Music Playing” will be streamed live Wednesday June 17th and benefits the Music Health Alliance. Jason Isbell, Rosanne Cash and Keb Mo are among those slated to perform.

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