Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Nashville Boutique Venue Owner Dan Cook to the newsmakers line.
At the top of the third hour, Cook described phase two of Mayor Cooper’s reopening plan and how it recently became downgraded from a 50 person capacity to 25 after his pleas for help. He did, however, positively highlight Governor Lee’s recent executive order that now links weddings and funerals to church services allowing for a quicker re-opening under the “freedom of religion” rule book.
Leahy: We are joined now by Dan Cook, the owner of Ruby and Clementine which is a boutique venue here in Nashville. Not yet ready to open for business according to Mayor Cooper. Tell us what’s the latest, Dan.
Cook: Good morning guys. Well, as of Monday, you know that we went to phase two in the city. So that puts us about six weeks behind the rest of the state. In phase two, the mayor and his cohorts enabled a few businesses to accelerate their opening. He graciously allowed two musicians to play on stage instead of one.
Cook: Two. In Music City.
Leahy: But not three?
Cook: Not three. Only two.
Leahy: And of course, it’s all backed by science and data, right? (Chuckles)
Cook: It’s all best practices. (Leahy laughs) Exactly, although a couple of industries benefited in phase two I suppose, our industry, the private event world which was slated to have 50 people per event was downgraded to 25.
Leahy: All because of science and data right? (Laughs)
Cook: Well you know I’m sure there was no spite involved.
Leahy: None. None whatsoever Dan.
Cook: (Chuckles) We are the only industry downgraded. Of course, our petition was to voice our disapproval of being last in line to open behind bars and public movie theaters and everybody else. But apparently that wasn’t good enough. We had to go further to the back of the line if there is such a thing.
Leahy: Have you talked to the mayor? I know you were on last week. Have you tried to talk to him and he wouldn’t talk to you. Has he tried to talk to you?
Cook: No, no, no. I haven’t spoken to the mayor directly or the mayor’s administration directly.
Leahy: And they are not really reaching out to you. You represent about 20,000 people involved in private venues here in Nashville?
Cook: There are 20,000 people when you consider caterers, bartenders, and photographers. The whole ecosystem which is still on the sideline. But we did have some good news though. I think our efforts were not for nothing I suppose. And what I’m saying there is I think that Governor Lee heard our pleas and he released an executive order last Friday which was a lifeline to our industry.
And what he did was he linked funerals and weddings to church services. Which as you know he previously protected under the Bill of Rights. As of last Friday, we were given cover to have weddings again at Nashville Boutique Venues under the religious freedom rule book.
Carmichael: And you could, therefore, have the reception there following the wedding?
Cook: Well, that was a very interesting thing. Previously we were pretty convinced we could have a ceremony at our venues but executive order 38 also mentioned for the first time receptions.
Leahy: So there you go. That’s a little bit of good news. Will you come back next Friday with another update to see if we can keep this vital industry going here in Nashville?
Cook: Absolutely. I’ll be back every Friday. Thanks, guys!
Listen to the third hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “The Clementine” by Nashville Boutique Venues.