NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville is still holding a New Year's Eve celebration, but just like everything else this year, you're encouraged to enjoy it from home. "We need to be patient, we need to be smart, we’ve been through a lot," said Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation CEO Butch Spyridon.
The city had a few pyrotechnics planned, but scrapped them following the Christmas Day bombing on Second Avenue. "We were going to surprise the community with some fireworks. We were going to surprise the community by blowing up the 2020 numbers to get rid of the year. It didn’t take much for all of us to go -- that’s a bad idea and it’s too soon," said Spyridon.
What Music City does best, will still be center stage. Moon Taxi and The Shindellas will perform live. The broadcast, exclusively on NewsChannel 5, will also feature recordings of previous New Year's Eve performances including Keith Urban and others.
While crowds aren't encouraged, they'll likely still be present. Bars on Broadway will still be open, at least part of the night. "The bars still have to close at 11. They have -- I think it's last call at 10, music stops at 10:30 and out the door at 11," explained Spyridon.
Steve Smith, the owner of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, was coy Tuesday afternoon in a news conference when a reporter asked if he would defy Metro's curfew for bars and restaurants. "I’m not going to say. You know I don’t want to put myself out there to say, you know, I’m going to close at 11:30. I should though because I don’t want to be a bad actor," said Smith.
Spyridon admonished any bar owners that were contemplating breaking the rules. "You know, I understand the frustration for all the businesses and we’re feeling it too, but this town is dealing with too much for renegade or rogue performances," said Spyridon.
According to Metro Public Health, bars that stay open past the curfew will be given a civil warrant and a judge would determine the fine the business owner would have to pay.
Spyridon points out, we might all have a brighter 2021 if we're smart about how we end 2020. "Long term recovery -- let’s get this right sooner," he added.
Of course, limitations on downtown businesses bring some of their own struggles. Spyridon estimates, when the clock strikes midnight Thursday night, Nashville will have lost more than $4.5 billion in visitor spending this year.