Nashville bar owners are feeling the effects of coronavirus, including John Rich. The Big & Rich singer is speaking out as his bar prepares to shut their doors, due to Nashville mayor John Cooper requiring all bars on Lower Broadway, including Rich's Redneck Riviera, to close in the wake of the outbreak.
"Today, the mayor of Nashville has mandated that all bars on Lower Broadway suspend operations tonight at 9:00 p.m. until further notice as we all wrap our heads around this global pandemic," Rich said in a lengthy statement. "We here at John Rich's Redneck Riviera Bar & BBQ have the safety and health of our employees, customers, family and friends at the forefront of our concerns. With that, we will pause the party for the 'work hard, play hard' crowd for now.
"We always have had a strict and compliant rule regarding the cleanliness of our property –– top to bottom," he continued. "In recent weeks, we have installed extra hand sanitizing stations around the venue, as well as held specific educational meetings with our staff and entertainers. We are all concerned and disappointed in the effects the world is experiencing right now, but this too, shall pass and we will be slinging drinks and bringing you our raucous brand of entertainment in short order."
While Rich did not say when they expected to be back in business, he did urge his fans and restaurant patrons to stay safe and healthy.
"Please know, we are Americans and we are resilient, strong and brothers in arms," Rich concluded. "We hope that you all stay safe and healthy and will come see us soon. Please take the time to continue to monitor this global emergency and check with your local media and network media outlets. They are doing the best they can to keep us all informed."
Rich is being more compliant than some of the other bar owners on Lower Broadway, including Steve Smith, who owns Kid Rock's Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N' Roll Steakhouse, along with other establishments in the area, and is pushing back on the restrictions.
"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 of businesses," Smith said in a statement. "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.0comments
"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," he added.
Photo Credit: Getty / Tim Mosenfelder