Nashville businesses are embracing the city’s mask mandate as a way to avoid shutting down again. Two were featured at Metro’s weekly COVID-19 press briefing Thursday, expressing their commitment to enforcing the rules among customers.
“I’m really optimistic that we are working to not go back, and the way we’re doing that is just by following the protocols,” said Kimberly Lewis, owner of Emerson Grace clothing boutique on 12th Ave S. “It really is pretty simple.”
The owner of Martin’s BBQ, meanwhile, warned that his restaurants are being sticklers on the masks, and he asked patrons not to see their commitment as partisan.
“It’s not who you voted for. It’s about wearing the mask,” Pat Martin said. “We do not need to go backwards.”
Nashville has one of the few remaining mask mandates in the state. Even the surrounding counties that required face coverings have allowed those rules to expire in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Nashville’s coronavirus case counts have remained relatively low, though the last few days have seen a slight uptick. But many surrounding communities, especially in the most rural parts of the state, are experiencing spikes right now.
Statewide, Tennessee has broadened its stimulus program for small businesses. The application window opened this week for as much as $30,000 in help.
Metro Nashville is also using some of its federal stimulus money to assist the hardest-hit business sectors. This week, the Metro Council approved Mayor John Cooper’s plan to direct $2 million to small businesses and another $2 million to support live music venues.