Maren Morris Is Using Her Big Voice to Help Small Bars

Is a Food Menu the Only Difference Between Big Bars and Local Haunts?

Just like her Twitter bio says, Maren Morris is “little but loud.” And this week, she’s been using her big celebrity voice for a cause.

When Morris saw that the very small bars in and around Nashville were suffering because they’d been following all of the COVID-19 safety precautions, she spoke up. “Broadway bars taking advantage of these loopholes right now are cannibalizing our Nashville small businesses who have been following the health orders since day 1. Going to donate to my friends at The Fox because this is absolutely heartbreaking,” Morris wrote about the tiny and impossible-to-find Fox Bar & Cocktail Club in East Nashville, later adding a shout-out to the to-go cocktails from Two Ten Jack.

And then late on Wednesday night (August 5), Morris was happy to report that some news outlets had been able to shed light on the battle between the bigger bars on Lower Broadway and the little local ones all around the city, and she asked Nashville Mayor John Cooper to take another look at the city’s lock down and the oversights that have allowed some of the bigger bars to stay open and to consider all of the things “that affect the local haunts that make Nashville a place people want to visit in the 1st place.”

The problem stems from some of the ambiguities in the current restrictions that allow bars to serve patrons at half capacity if they serve food. The Mayor’s office website states that bars with food service are able to “open with occupancy at 50% capacity or at a level that maintains social distancing, whichever is less.” But just because you serve food doesn’t mean that’s what the patrons are ordering. And the capacity rule doesn’t solve problems either, because even if a bar is operating at half capacity inside, crowds are fully ready to wait their turn outside on the sidewalks that line Lower Broadway.

One of Cooper’s aides, Ben Eagles, told Tennessee Lookout, “We know that bars are high-risk environments for spreading COVID-19, as bars exhibit each of the ’three C’s’ – closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.”

Nashville is currently in Phase Two of its reopening, meaning that bars like The Fox must remain closed through at least August 16.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
@alisonbonaguro