After a year of supporting mandated COVID closures, Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) begged the Biden Administration to save some of Nashville’s historic live music venues. On Wednesday, Cooper penned a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA). The representative asked the SBA to expedite their Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) for the businesses that faced several months of mandatory closure and a year of lockdowns and restrictions in his district.
“Nashville’s live music venues and theaters are in dire need of help through the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program,” tweeted Cooper. “I’ve urged the @SBAgov Administrator to immediately expedite the applications of our cultural centers. Music City can’t lose these treasures.”
Nashville’s live music venues & theaters are in dire need of help through the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program. I’ve urged the @SBAgov Administrator to immediately expedite the applications of our cultural centers. Music City can’t lose these treasures. pic.twitter.com/zMoHRZGooc
— Jim Cooper (@repjimcooper) June 9, 2021
Cooper has supported the shutdowns and regulations. Last March and April, he tweeted his support for not only a mandatory stay-at-home order – which was issued by Governor Bill Lee in early April – but a national shutdown.
“I am glad @GovBillLee finally followed Nashville’s lead and issued a mandatory state-wide stay-at-home order. This is what experts say is needed to help flatten the curve,” tweeted Cooper. “Some states still aren’t taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously enough and too many lives are at risk, which is why a national stay-at-home order is needed.”
Some states still aren’t taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously enough and too many lives are at risk, which is why a national stay-at-home order is needed.
— Jim Cooper (@repjimcooper) April 2, 2020
Among the live music venues listed in Cooper’s letter as at-risk for permanent closure are 3rd and Lindsley, The 5 Spot, The Basement, The Basement East, The Belcourt Theatre, The Bluebird Cafe, The End, Exit/In, The Listening Room Cafe, Marathon Music Works, Mercy Lounge, Rudy’s Jazz Room, The Station Inn, and Third Coast Comedy Club.
Cooper said that these businesses are still awaiting SBA assistance through SVOG. Without it, he said, some of them are just weeks away from disappearing forever. Cooper’s letter had loose allegorical ties to the fate of the worst COVID-19 hospital cases, where a dying individual is placed on a ventilator.
“Live music is the heart and soul of Nashville. Every one of Nashville’s music venues and theaters has been closed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these businesses are dying, and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) is the life-giving respirator,” wrote Cooper. “Music City may be changed forever if these delays don’t end.”
As The Tennessee Star reported, Metro Nashville health officials rescinded their mask mandate midway through last month. The decision was a sudden, unexplained reversal following a board of health meeting. Metro government also lifted all capacity restrictions as well.
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