Bar and restaurant ordered to close by Nashville mayor
Dierks Bentley is giving $90k to employees his Whiskey Row bar and restaurant in Nashville after it shut down temporarily due to the coronavirus. Bentley shared on social media that he will be immediately giving all 90 his hourly employees $1k each to help them following Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s order to close all bars throughout Davidson County.
“Just gave last call at Whisky Row Nashville as we close the doors for awhile,” he writes. “My heart goes out to all the guys/girls down on Lower Broad. Feels like yesterday that it was me down there working for tips. I am going to immediately give each our 90 hourly employees $1000 to help in the short run as our community and country try to get a handle on the situation.”
He continues where he encourages other bar owners to help their employees however they can.
“Riot Hospitality Group and I encourage all bar owners on Lower Broadway to take care their bartenders, bar backs, waitresses, security, dishwashers, etc., the best they can,” he continues. “Lower Broadway is the heartbeat Nashville. Let’s make sure we help the folks that help make the music happen.”
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Jason Aldean, Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan, Kid Rock are among the musicians who also own bars/restaurants in the area that closed. Initially, Steve Smith, who co-owns Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Steakhouse along with Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and other famed establishments in Downtown Nashville, refused to close, despite the mayor’s order.
“We appreciate the efforts Mayor Cooper to combat the COVID-19 virus, but unless there’s a statewide mandate that directs all bars and restaurants to be closed, the request made by Mayor Cooper is unconstitutional as he is targeting a select group businesses,” Smith said in a statement released prior to the meeting,” Smith shared on Sunday.
He continues, “We are compassionate with those who have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus and all who are helping manage the crisis as the entire world addresses the outbreak. However, a Tootsie’s patron as immediate as last night, mentioned having lived through the polio epidemic and didn’t recall such extreme measures being handed down in history.
“In response, Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Steakhouse and The Diner will continue to remain open to serve the public until such statewide mandate is issued from the Governor Tennessee.”
On Monday, Smith had a change heart, likely due to backlash surrounding his controversial decision with the rapid spread the coronavirus forcing closures across the world.
“In cooperation with the Mayor’s fice, Tootsie’s, Honky Tonk Central and Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk have closed to help protect public health, Rippy’s and The Diner will operate under the guidelines set forth for restaurants and take precautions to keep our staff and patrons safe,” he writes. “We hope to continue working with local ficials to minimize the hardship this puts on our over 800 staff members and 300+ musicians. Visit us on social media platforms for news and updates.”
The news follows every major entertainment event either canceling or postponing due to the world health crisis.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic. More than 180k cases have been reported in 110 countries with over 7k deaths. Nearly 80k people have contracted and survived the virus that was discovered last year.
This week, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state emergency and suggesting American stay at home as ten as possible. He and the White House’s coronavirus task force released guidelines they hope will slow the spread the pandemic within 15 days.