NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Mayor John Cooper says Nashville is modifying its Phase Two guidelines to allow ceremonies at event venues to resume with new restrictions.
Cooper said Thursday that both weddings and funerals could resume at 1/3 capacity, or 125 people, or less beginning September 1. However, attendees must comply with social distancing guidelines and wear masks.
Cooper said this will be safer than backyard weddings where there are no health protocols.
Raina van Setter is a wedding planner and owns Weddings & Events by Raina, where she says the latest changes may not make much of a difference in Davidson County. Most of her clients have postponed their weddings until later this fall, while others have either cancelled or moved to venues outside of the county.
“There they don’t have the number of cases, so they can certainly allow for more guests to attend,” van Setter said.
Forever the optimist, van Setter says this gives her more time with each couple rather than before where she may have had three weddings every week.
“We know this is not going away any time soon so we have to normalize this for our guests. If you add a little humor to it and Nashville is good at adding humor to any situation, good or bad it makes them feel more at ease,” van Setter said.
Additionally, transpotainment vehicles may resume service with 10 people or at 1/2 capacity. All must wear a mask and must be in the same party.
Limited service restaurants can expand their indoor capacity to 25 people and an additional 25 people in outdoor spaces. Bar counters can reopen with social distancing between parties.
“You’re certainly appreciative. Nobody has a playbook to where we are in this city,” said Barrett Hobbs, owner of Cumberland Hospitality Group.
Hobbs was hoping like most bar owners to have capacity to at least 50 percent, not 50 people as it now stands as long as you have outdoor seating.
“I don’t think anybody was anticipating such an incremental adjustment,” Hobbs said.
As he explains, you’re not adding more staff at that capacity and Hobbs says, you’re hardly adding money. He doesn’t expect much of a difference from what he’s seeing at the moment, but he does acknowledge how much bar seating will help local businesses.
If we continue to see these incremental adjustments to Phase 2, Hobbs says the city should also consider tax breaks for the businesses who’ve managed under these circumstances.
“They’re going to have to balance that out with either future tax rebates, perhaps not make hospitality pay the 34 percent increase in property taxes that are coming up. They’re going to have to get creative for us to survive,” Hobbs said.
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