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Nashville relaxing restrictions on events, bars, party buses

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville is relaxing some of its virus restrictions after seeing a slow-down in the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor John Cooper announced Thursday that beginning on Sept. 1, venues may hold weddings, funerals and similar events at one-third capacity or 125 people, whichever is fewer. The venues are required to follow social distancing guidelines and guest must wear masks while standing, Cooper said during a video news conference. Those planning larger events will be allowed to submit plans to the director of public health for review.
Meanwhile, the so-called transportainment industry will be allowed to resume operating its tourist-filled party buses, trucks and tractors at 50% maximum capacity with a limit of 10 people who must all belong to the same party, Cooper said. And bars are allowed to expand capacity to accommodate up to 25 people outside as well as 25 people inside. Seating can resume at the bar with social distancing between parties, the mayor said.
The relaxation of rules comes with “continued slow but steady progress” in fighting the new coronavirus, Cooper said. The 14-day rolling average of cases has decreased from 190.5 two weeks ago to 147.5 today, he said. The city currently has 1,864 active cases. That’s the first time the number has been below 2,000 since June.
Meanwhile, others are calling for Nashville to rein in the large crowds of tourists that continue to congregate in the Lower Broadway entertainment district.
Chelsea Crowell, daughter of country musicians Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell, started a petition on the website change.org that has collected more than 25,000 signatures. It states, in part, “The rest of Nashville is suffering the consequences of the large tourist crowds gathering downtown. We want to safely return to work and school, we want to safely open back up businesses (there are many that remain closed even as bars downtown remain open by using a food sale loophole), and most importantly, we want our health prioritized.”
While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older people and those with existing health problems.