Nashville officials are considering whether Lower Broadway should always be closed to traffic on busy weekends.
On Friday and Saturday nights, thousands of people packed the sidewalks waiting to get into honky tonks, where strict capacity limits are in place because of COVID-19. So on Sunday, the city closed the street to give them space for queuing up.
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) September 5, 2020
The closure, recommended by Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell, was between 4th and 5th avenues, which has the highest concentration of open bars. Managers were told to have lines extend into the street. The move did block the route for transpotainment vehicles, but Caldwell says it worked well and gave people room to spread out.
“When we’re expecting more crowds, we need to think more creatively on how we can reimagine that area of town so that a lot of people can be in one place but have the room to be socially distant,” he says.
Thank you to everyone helping tonight where SOUTH BROADWAY 4th/5th is CLOSED tonight @MNPDNashville @NashvilleHealth @NashvilleFD @NashvillePW
Better #socialdistancing #PROGRESSisNOTanACCIDENT#WearAMask @JohnCooper4Nash @alexjahangir pic.twitter.com/SdZne0ZHRr
— Michael Caldwell MD (@healthchief) September 7, 2020
Back in May, Nashville converted eight neighborhood streets to pedestrian-only.
Around the country, some restrictions on traffic are permanent, though many are temporary. At this point, Nashville is getting feedback on how it worked for business owners downtown.
“I think we will, at the very least, try it again,” Caldwell says.