Nashville bars, limited service restaurants can reopen Monday at limited capacity

Posted at 9:57 AM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 15:54:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper says bars and limited service restaurants can reopen Monday with restrictions in place.

Cooper announced the update Thursday during Metro’s COVID-19 briefing. He said limited service restaurants and bars can reopen with a maximum of 25 patrons or however many can be socially distanced. All customers must be seated, and bar counters must remain closed.

All restaurants and bars must close by 10:30 pm. To-go/curbside alcohol sales and open containers of alcohol are still not allowed in the midtown and downtown areas.

“Beginning Monday, August 17, we will begin to cautiously adjust the dial of our current public health restrictions to enable more of our small businesses owners to open their doors and get their employees back to work at the data permits,” Cooper said.

He said beginning next week, enforcement teams will be patrolling area bars and restaurants, and violations could result in a business losing its license.

Cooper added that no other changes will be made to restaurant operating restrictions at this time. Nashville will continue in its modified Phase Two plan. Current public health orders will continue until at least August 31.

In response to the announcement, a group of Broadway and downtown entertainment businesses said the new order does nothing to help their employees and musicians who are stuggling financially due to the pandemic.

"We are encouraged to see Nashville’s numbers continue to trend down and increased compliance of mask-wearing along with our Be a Honky Tonk Hero campaign, MNPD’s enforcement and other public health measures.

Unfortunately, 25 people is an arbitrary number that is largely unworkable for most bars and limited-service restaurants. Worst of all, this order does nothing to help our thousands of struggling employees and musicians. The order disregards that our larger capacity venues can act as restaurants and can safely socially distance much larger crowds, bringing people off the streets and into a controlled setting. We want to open and act as advocates for best health practices and control behavior, but it will not be realistic for many of us to open under such unreasonable parameters. We can be successful serving safely as restaurants do and urge reconsideration of the capacity out of respect for our employees who are at a critical point as they have now gone months without paychecks."