Coalition of Lower Broadway and Downtown Merchants Ask Patrons to "Be A Honky Tonk Hero" and

A coalition of downtown bars and restaurants are launching a campaign that puts health and safety first.

NASHVILLE, TN – A coalition of downtown bars and restaurants are launching a campaign that puts health and safety first. Be a Honky Tonk Hero will ask those who love the bright lights and world-famous sounds of Broadway to follow guidelines to promote the health and safety of all who work and visit downtown.

“If you love our entertainment district, our employees, and our musicians, we’re going to ask you and everyone who comes to our establishments to do their part and be a Honky Tonk Hero,” said Brenda and Ruble Sanderson, owners of Broadway Entertainment. “Being safe and respectful isn’t just best for the health of everyone downtown. It allows us to open and stay open by keeping the employees, musicians and vendors who rely on us working. We’re playing our part, now we ask you to play yours.”

As part of the campaign to Be a Honky Tonk Hero, downtown patrons are encouraged to do the following:

  • Stay home if sick
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Wear a mask at all times within an establishment unless seated
  • Socially distance while walking within bars/restaurants and when outside on Broadway
  • Wear a mask outside on Broadway whenever possible 

Establishments will offer free masks to those who don’t have their own, which visitors will be encouraged to take with them when they leave.

Following these guidelines will also protect the health and safety of workers who are an integral part of Broadway’s success including beer, food and linen vendors, sound technicians, hotel staff, maintenance workers, drivers and all those who contribute to making Broadway a major destination. Broadway’s success is vital to these workers and their families as well as the city of Nashville. Adherence to these guidelines preserves Broadway’s role as a major revenue driver for Nashville.

While the campaign is being launched as bars in the downtown area are currently closed, restaurants that are open and participating will begin promoting Be a Honky Tonk Hero immediately, as more campaign elements are rolled out over time, and bars will be ready to execute on the promises of the campaign as soon as they are allowed to open.

“We believe opening bars can be a part of the solution - just as restaurants are doing a good job working under the city’s guidance, bars are ready and able to operate the same way,” said Barrett Hobbs, owner of Cumberland Hospitality Group. “When bars open it will allow us to help alleviate overflow in the streets and bring patrons into a socially distanced environment that we are able to control and enforce health guidelines. Our employees and musicians are eager to come back to work to act as ambassadors for our campaign and for safe and healthy practices throughout downtown.”

Beyond in-person communications, Be a Honky Tonk Hero has launched a website ( with information about best practices, social media for targeted outreach, will post signage inside and outside of its bars and restaurants, and train employees to speak to customers about best practices inside and outside of their bars, and implement giveaways for those on the streets doing the right thing. More is to come.

“We can’t be with visitors every step of the way, and don’t have the ability to enforce outside of our walls, but we want to be ambassadors for doing the right thing,” said Sean Marshall, who handles strategic operations for multiple businesses downtown, including Tootsies, The Diner, Rippy's, Honkytonk Central and Kid Rock's. “Our employees will remind every person they serve that by following the rules, no matter where they are, they can help keep Lower Broadway open and its thousands of employees back at work providing for their families.”

In addition to what the campaign will encourage of guests, downtown establishments will be following CDC best practices, which include:

  • Educating employees about when they should stay home and when they can return to work
  • Cleaning all surfaces after use by a patron
  • Requiring frequent employee handwashing
  • Requiring the use of masks among all staff as feasible
  • Adapting layouts to ensure all customer parties remain at least six feet apart
  • Offering drive-through and curbside take-out options when applicable
  • Maintaining physical barriers between performers and audience
  • Using disposable, virtual or no-touch menus where possible
  • Maintaining parties of maximum of six people or less
  • Removing use of self-service food, beverage, and shared condiments 

Visit for more information. 
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