Starting today, Nashville bars and restaurants can increase capacity, stay open until 1 a.m.

broadway mask sign
Posted at 7:02 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 20:39:33-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Starting today, Nashville bars and restaurants can increase capacity and stay open until 1 a.m. as the city continues its reopening plan amid the pandemic.

Mayor John Cooper announced the update during Thursday’s weekly COVID briefing, saying Metro adjusted its public health protocols based on "improving conditions."

Here are some of the big changes:

  • In addition to staying open until 1 a.m., bars and restaurants can now serve an additional 50 people per-floor, bringing the total to 125.
  • Outdoor gatherings jumped from eight to 25 people.
  • For anyone getting married, capacity for weddings is now at 125.
  • Live events are also doubling their capacity, pending health department approval, from 500 to 1000 people.
  • Museums and attractions, like the zoo, can now increase to capacity that still allows people to be socially distant.

They're not sure if it was the confusion over when these new rules would take effect, but managers at Redneck Riviera say this past weekend was one of the best they've had since this time last year.

The bar/restaurant followed Metro Public Health rules with capacity and made sure last call was at 11AM, so by midnight all the guests were gone. Now imagine one more hour.

"These late night hours are crucial," said Jules Wortman of Wortman Works.

May not seem like much, but the managers say that's all part of the revenue they need to rebound from this past year. Wortman serves as the PR manager for the bar. She says the closer we are to normal operating hours, the less capacity makes a difference. At Redneck Riviera they can have 125 people per floor, but Wortman says even at half capacity time is what counts.

"We have a lot of excitement and a lot of people are here and everyone is eager to get out...past 10 a.m. The artists are performing more, the tips are coming in, the drinks are flowing. If that's the normal today, we'll take it," Wortman said.

Part of that new normal are masks of course and Metro Public Health tells us they still plan to enforce their mask mandate.

You may not see them as often and that's because Metro Nashville Police will now be enforcing this mandate Friday and Saturday nights between Downtown and Demonbreun Street areas. As of March, the enforcement time will be from 3:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Metro Nashville Police also offered the following statement:
"There is a dedicated team of 7 officers to respond to complaints concerning violation of Health Orders that come into Hub Nashville every day of the week. They work until 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday."

As of Sunday morning, the current transmission rate is 0.85, which has actually ticked up from 0.75 when this announcement was made last Thursday. However, that is still under the goal of being below one.

Metro began vaccinating residents ages 65 and older on Friday. Residents who would like to make an appointment for a vaccine can visit Nashville's COVID-19 website or call 615-862-7777.