NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A “Rally to Reopen” Nashville begged Mayor John Cooper to reopen bars and music venues so employees can return to work.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Music City in March, thousands of service industry staff have been struggling to make ends meet.
“We just want the same opportunity to go to work safely and keep a roof over our heads,” Rally Organizer and Bartender Crystal Eisermann said. “We’re not numbers, we’re people. And we need to survive too.”
Dozens of people gathered on the Public Square to call for the mayor’s attention to their frustrations on Monday. Musicians said it’s important that businesses following the rules are not punished.
“Rather than shutting all of Broadway down as it is currently, we’ve got about 90-percent of the street shutdown, we’re packing all that traffic into one street corner of venues that are still open,” Musician Matt Brandon said.
Brandon said social distancing concerns with summer tourism may be lessened if bars were able to reopen. The current modified Phase Two in Nashville forces bars and certain music venues to close.
“The bartender and the waitress, they can’t serve a drink virtually, you know?” Musician Stacy Mitchhart added.
Mitchhart, a popular blues musician at Printer’s Alley venues, says he’s been seeking unique avenues to make ends meet.
“I actually started making cigar box guitars and selling them to my fans. And that’s kept the lights on and kept the mortgage paid, but it’s definitely tight,” Mitchhart said.
Eisermann said whether it’s limited capacity or hours, employees will do whatever is necessary to maintain safety so they can get back to business.
As of now, Metro Nashville will remain in a modified Phase Two through August 16. Eisermann said those out of work cannot afford to have that date extended.