Broadway bars are returning economically from the COVID-19 pandemic
Broadway bars are returning economically from the COVID-19 pandemic

Broadway bars are returning economically from the COVID-19 pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of Nashville bars, including the Lower Broadway Honky Tonks.

On March 15, 2020, Davidson County and the Metro Public Health Board declared a public health emergency. It canceled the SEC Basketball Tournament, shut down the world-famous neon light on Broadway and silenced the music.

Brandon Fry is chief bartender at Redneck Riviera. The nearly 20-year-old resident of Nashville says it was hard to see everything shut down and so many people without work.

“It was depressing. It was painful. It was like this is my home and it’s a ghost town. It’s Deadwood. It’s empty. There’s nothing here,” Fry said.

Fortunately, the owners of the Freeze bar continued to pay their entire staff during the months their doors were closed.

“It saved me and my wife tremendously. We probably would have lost our house, lost pretty much everything if it were not for our owners. I get a little teary-eyed just thinking about it,” Fry said.

But not everyone was equally lucky. Thousands lost their jobs. Some bars and restaurants closed permanently.

But recently, the CDC relaxed its mask guidelines, and COVID cases are down across the country.

Fry says the business has returned to bloom on the Redneck Riviera and estimates his bartenders now earn about 30% more than they were pre-pandemic.

“To get to sit there and get people to sit at the bar and get to talk to them, know where they come from, and know what they’re doing for a living and so on and so forth. It was really, really good for us. It warms our hearts and it makes us feel comfortable, “Fry said.

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On Monday, the Metro Public Health Department’s website reported less than 3,000 active COVID-19 cases in Davidson County.

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