Nashville Declares Public Health Emergency, Shuts Down Lower Broadway to Combat Coronavirus

Nashville Broadway
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Bars on Broadway in Nashville, Tenn.

As the confirmed cases of the coronavirus grew to 39 in Tennessee, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced major changes to the area on Sunday (March 15), including closing the bars on Lower Broadway and limiting restaurant capacity, as first reported by the Tennessean.

In a press release sent Sunday afternoon (March 15), the mayor has closed bars throughout Davidson County. including Lower Broadway, as well as issued the limitation of restaurant seating to under 50 percent of capacity. No more than 100 individuals are allowed in any establishment. He has also limited bar service at restaurants to 50 percent capacity with no standing allowed.

“We also are asking restaurants to take social distancing precautions, including the spacing out of tables for customers," Cooper said in a statement. “We are asking for these short-term actions based on recommendations of public health officials and health professionals and to protect the health of every person in our county and every visitor to our city."

The mayor says these rules will be in effect "until it is no longer necessary," adding that the chief medical director "will determine when the new rules will no longer be necessary."

The news comes after several major tourist spots in Nashville were closed due to concerns over the coronavirus, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. Additionally, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival previously scheduled for later this month in Music City has been postponed until later this year.

On Thursday (March 12), Dan + ShayKenny Chesney and Blake Shelton all postponed their tours due to the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the Houston Rodeo was also canceled. South by Southwest in Austin was canceled outright due to coronavirus. Check out a full, updating list of canceled and postponed events here.