Some Nashville music venues decide to drop COVID protocols as cases decrease

Posted at 4:28 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 20:20:13-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the last two years, Nashville music venues have either had to be closed or have strict COVID protocols in place. Starting this week, some destinations are lifting those restrictions while others are staying the course.

Honky Tonks on Lower Broadway have been without restrictions for months, but locally-owned venues like The 5 Spot in East Nashville and Exit/In on Elliston Placehave decided to drop their vaccine and mask mandates.

NewsChannel 5 spoke to several musicians on Broadway who are excited about that prospect.

"They’ve lost a lot of money I think during COVID times and it’s just a breath of fresh air for them for sure," said Mark Hatt.

"If people feel like people can go in and enjoy themselves, of course," said Rayna Boccuti, a musician and tourist in Nashville this weekend. "We are finally just off to the races, you know what I mean? It’s definitely making a comeback."

But this change isn't music to everyone's ears. One local venue owner told NewsChannel 5 that they've gotten threats of violence and arson since they announced they're ending their COVID-19 policies.

They're singing a different tune over at City Winery.

"Let’s just stay calm and cool and we’re get back to normal real soon," said Michael Dorf, CEO of City Winery.

Even with the other venues deciding to end their protocols, Dorf has decided to keep theirs in place.

"We’re simply going to air a little bit on the side of caution and hope that we can add a little safer environment for some people who maybe don't want to go out in a facility that no one’s masked and no one’s checking cards right now," he said.

Whatever decision each individual venue makes, they all hope the slow days for houses of music are long behind us.

"All I really wanna do is sell drinks and put on shows and make people happy. Discussing this is driving me nuts," said Dorf.