Party buses packed, but bar owners forced to close in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Even with many of the bars closed in the heart of Music City, the party hasn’t stopped.

This is frustrating business owners who said they’re doing their part to not only try and slow the spread of coronavirus, but to simply follow the mayor’s orders. 

“It’s very disappointing,” Andrew Mischke co-owner of Rosemary and Beauty Queen said. 

From fire trucks to hot tubs on wheels, people packed inside all types of party buses over the holiday weekend in Music City. 

The move disappointed business owners like Andrew Mishke of Rosemary & Beauty Queen in East Nashville, who laid off all of his bar staff and shut the doors following a July 3 order from Mayor John Cooper (D). 

“It’s like a slap in the face,” Mishke explained. 

Even before the city reverted back to a modified version of phase 2, staff inside Rosemary & Beauty Queen went beyond the guidelines by taking temperatures of guests at the door and requiring them to wear masks. 

“This is a long game for us. We want to do the right thing for our community to keep people safe and also be a business with that type of reputation.”

Mishke questions why others aren’t simply following the guidelines that are listed in the orders like not sitting parties of more than six together, socially distancing tables and now allowing anyone to sit at the bar.

Guidelines that he says don’t seem to apply to ‘transpotainment’ businesses like party buses. 

“People were not wearing masks, no social distancing. To the naked eye you can just look at it and as a layman and you can see this is obviously not what the intentions of these orders, it doesn’t match the intentions of these orders anyone can look at that and see that,” said Mishke. 

‘Transpotainment’ falls into “socially-driven businesses” according to Cooper’s office, which allows for 50 percent capacity. Mishke said therefore it doesn’t make sense why they seem to be operating as normal. 

“If there’s no penalty for that why would they comply,” Mishke questioned. 

It’s a concern District 19 Council Member Freddie O’Connell says be understands and gets regular questions about.

“I don’t have a good answer to the question yet as to why are we not stopping them pulling them over and saying hey you are not in compliance of one of a variety of public health orders we have right now,” O’Connell said. 

The same question was brought up at the mayor’s Tuesday morning news conference. Dr. Michael Caldwell said transpotainment presents a challenge for the city.

“I’ve noticed that a number of them are not properly social distancing, they’re not wearing face masks and it is a concern that I have and we’re going to continue to work on trying to find ways to get them more compliant,” said Dr. Caldwell. 

WKRN reached out to Music City Party Tub for comment, but did not hear back. They did speak to the owner of another party bus company who says they are going to make their own call now to close for 14 days.

Officials with the Metro Health Department said they visited four bars over the weekend that were operating; Nashville Underground, FGL House, Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar and Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge.

They say all cooperated and closed after speaking with them.

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