NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced Tuesday the 10 p.m. curfew for all restaurants has no end date and Nashville will remain in a modified phase two of reopening for the time being. As for bars and restrictions on “transpotainment” vehicles, those measures are extended through mid-August
FOX 17 News reporter Harriet Wallace learned that many “transpotainment” companies are allowed to still operate despite the Mayor’s order because of a loophole involving alcohol. As long as they don’t have alcohol on board, city leaders say they can operate, even though people on board are not socially distancing or wearing masks – a requirement when out and about.
This comes after city leaders and local medical leaders have cited social distancing and wearing masks as the leading methods of stopping the virus, not stopping the consumption of alcohol.
As many witnessed in videos surfacing from the weekend, no one was seen drinking while onboard but no one was seen social distancing or wearing masks either.
Wallace asked the mayor’s office and health department what alcohol has to do with the virus? Why enforce no alcohol but not enforce social distancing and mask wearing. The office referred her to Metro Health.
Spokesman Brian Todd said “The consumption of alcohol provision was intended to differentiate between party barges and the like and actual transportation needs”. He said they did intend to shut down the transpotainment vehicles and they are exploring other options to do so.
Hugh Atkins from Metro Health said during the Tuesday press conference that enforcement of the vehicles is challenging because some are regulated by Metro while others are regulated by the state and federal government. Wallace attempted to ask a follow up question to this during the presser, asking how they are regulated differently but the news conference ended.
Monday, Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House Coronavirus Task Force visited Nashville amidst concerns with cases spiking in the city. She said the cases will continue to spike until city leaders take more action.
“If every great mayor throughout the state would mandate mask, close bars and substantially decrease indoor dining and distancing, together we can get through this,” said Dr. Birx.
Florida, a popular tourism destination like Nashville is also struggling with containing the virus as more people flock there for fun, ignoring coronavirus recommendations as seen in Nashville. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Andria Rusk who’s helping advise Florida officials in the pandemic response, says tourists spots like Nashville have a tough road ahead.
“The more tourists that come in and continue to behave in the same way and COVID continues to transmit, you’re going to continue to see this increase in cases,” said Dr. Rusk.
Metro Health says none of the “transpotainment” operators were cited or shutdown. Metro Police did have to stop four vehicles to explain they couldn’t have alcohol on board. They tell FOX 17 News those businesses complied and were able to continue operating.