‘We are just glad it’s over’, Music City business owners react to new health orders

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Concerts, events and conventions can soon return to full capacity in Nashville. It’s been 14 Months, but come May 14th… all capacity restrictions will be lifted. 

Health officials made it clear that the announcement doesn’t mean the mission has been accomplished just yet, pointing out that the disease is still here and reminding us that kids under 16 still can’t be vaccinated. However, Dr. Alex Jahangir head of Metro’s Coronavirus Task Force, said we are in a good spot in the city for people to choose their comfort level. 

“It’s time, it’s time to get back to the great Nashville that we all know and love,” stated Dr. Jahangir. 

You can certainly feel the energy already returning to businesses downtown. The sound that the city thrives on echoed through the bustling streets. 

“We are glad things are getting back to normal,” a family from Chicago told News 2. 

With summer around the corner… soon the downtown as we knew it will return. 

“We want people to get ready, we want event venues if they can go ahead and book things to book them and concerts to get booked, book them. This is why we aren’t just turning the dial tomorrow, we want to give people the heads up because we want people to be as best prepared to be successful,” said Jahangir. 

It’s a welcomed move from business owners and hospitality workers who have struggled to get to the other side. 

“You’ve already started to see the crowds coming back. You know one of our concerns in the industry is that that’s going to paint a false picture that everything is back to normal for us. You know you will never get those sales that we lost,” explained downtown business owner Barrett Hobbs. 

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

With a year down the drain, Hobbs said their concerns now shift as the city has lost musicians and employees. 

“When you are a small business person you are used to getting punched in the face, you know. You just keep moving forward so it’s a different problem for us to address, but we will take it and keep moving,” said Hobbs. 

However, Monday’s news he said is relieving as they look ahead at welcoming everyone back to Music City. 

“I’m just glad it’s here. I don’t think anybody really, for the most part, is in the mood to second guess what happened. We are just glad it’s over.” 

The indoor mask mandate remains in effect in Nashville. Dr .Jahangir saying the mandate corresponds with the public health emergency order, which is set to expire at the end of June.

“We are encouraged by this next step. This certainly opens up our ability to bring meetings back. While leisure business has definitely increased, we are still only running in the mid 50 percent range in hotel occupancy. It will take the majority of 2021 to build back our convention business, and we are still looking at 2022 for business travel to start to recover. Overall, it’s good news, but we still have a way to go.” 

Butch Spyridon, president and CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

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