East Side Buzz, August 28

Improvements, Reopenings, and Drops — All in the News

The New Issue Is On The Streets
There’s still time to secure your copy of the new issue of The East Nashvillian! This special issue takes a look at how we and our neighbors are navigating the unprecedented events of 2020 through our own perspectives. From the personal and financial devastation of a worldwide pandemic to the struggle for racial justice we’re all just “Feeling the Elephant.” You can pick up your copy at usual distribution points, read it online, or have it delivered directly to your home through The East Nashvillian storefront.

And speaking of issues, our last issue is still available when you place an order for any of the deluxe merch we’re now offering through our webstore. Grab yourself a swank Shelby Bottoms shirt featuring the one and only Golden Pheasant or pay tribute to the East Side’s most famous Street (or is that Avenue? Or Pike?) Or score an East Side pride bandanna that can serve double duty as both a handy face covering or a high-flying freak flag! Show your East Side Pride with fancy duds on your body and a copy of The East Nashvillian on your coffee table. Place your order today!

COVID-19 Updates — Slow But Steady Improvements
On Thursday, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced further modifications to Phase Two of Roadmap for Reopening Nashville that will take effect on Tuesday, September 1. The modifications include:

  • Weddings, funerals, and “similar ceremonies” at event venues can reopen at one-third capacity with a maximum of 125 people
  • “Transportainment” vehicles will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity up to a maximum of 10 people; masks will be required for patrons
  • Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons at bars or counters with social distancing measures required
  • Bars can add an additional 25 patrons to in outdoor seating areas (inside seating is still limited to 25) for an overall maximum capacity of 50 patrons

The mayor sited slow but steady improvements in COVID-19 metrics as the reason for the modifications while stressing the importance of continued testing. He encouraged business owners to utilize free testing of employees at Metro’s three community testing centers, noting that lines are currently short and results are being returned in less than 48 hours. For more information on testing, call 615-862-7777 or visit asafenashville.org.

Tennessee State Representative Bill Beck (D) who represents District 51 announced Thursday he had tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement to the press, Beck said, “In the interest of public health awareness, I must inform you that on Tuesday, August 25th, I received the results that I had tested positive for COVID-19. I began experiencing symptoms on Sunday, August 23rd. I immediately self-isolated for the rest of the day and went to be tested first thing Monday morning, August 24th, at the drive-through Metro Nashville COVID-19 Assessment Center at Nissan Stadium. I would like to thank the hard-working staff and volunteers of all assessment centers in Nashville and across the state. Their dedication, professionalism, and efficiency on the front lines of helping fight the spread of COVID-19 is to be commended.”

Rep. Beck, who represents portions of downtown, East Nashville, Inglewood, and Madison, said he began experiencing symptoms 11 days after the end of the recent legislative special session that was called by Gov. Bill Lee at which dozens of Republican lawmakers pointedly refused to wear masks.

“I and many others said this special session was unnecessary and highly risky,” Beck continued to say in his statement. “We have been proven right on both accounts. I will be shocked if I am the only member who caught COVID-19 while attending a special session that did nothing but provide businesses with immunity from legitimate COVID-19 lawsuits and criminalize the right of our citizens to peacefully assemble and protest their government.” Beck emphasized that all Tennesseans should continue to take special precautions including wearing masks.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced this week that FEMA accepted Tennessee’s application for a federal grant program that would provide an extra $300 unemployment benefits a week. No start date for the benefits has been announced yet. The extra federal funds, redirected from the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, are estimated to only last five weeks.

Nashville continued to show steady improvements in key metrics this week. As of Thursday, the transmission rate was at 0.83 and has remained below the below 1.0 level, for several weeks. A total of  749 new cases were reported in the last week. To date, a total of 25,589 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Davidson County, with 224 total deaths. More information and updates on Metro’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are available at asafenashville.org.

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Swingin’ Doors Reopen For The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum announced this week that they will reopen for members only on  Wednesday, September 9 at 10 a.m. and for the general public at the same time on the next day, Thursday, September 10.

Tours of Hatch Show Print and Historic RCA Studio B will also resume in a limited capacity, but The Taylor Swift Education Center will be closed to the public for the time being and all in-person programming remains on hiatus. All exhibitions that opened before the museum closed on March 13 have been extended.

Although many downtown businesses have been criticized for lax operating procedures during the pandemic, the CHOF has been responsible and cautious in their decisions, a position that museum CEO Kyle Young reiterated in his statement regarding the decision to reopen.

“The museum places its highest premium on health and safety,” Young said in a statement to the press. “Because there has been steady improvement in the number of COVID-19 cases and a significant decline in transmission rates locally plus a decrease in new cases nationally over the past four weeks, we have decided to reopen. The museum experience will be slightly different—visitors will wear masks, practice social distancing, tour in smaller groups, and enter the museum according to a pre-arranged, staggered schedule, and there will be no in-person programming. But our commitment to sharing the country music story has not changed.”

Additional information on the museum’s health and safety guidelines and reopening details are available at CountryMusicHallofFame.org.

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Vote Early or Absentee!
The Davidson County Election Commission released the schedule this week for early voting in the November 3 General Election.  Early voting begins on October 14 and will run through October 29. Two additional Early Voting locations have been added — The East Nashville YMCA and Friendship Baptist Church in North Nashville. A complete list of early voting locations and hours is available from the Election Commission’s website.

You can also now request an absentee voting ballot for the November 3 General Election. Although the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision that allowed Tennesseans to vote absentee for any reason, there are still a wide variety of reasons Tennesseans may do so — including having an underlying medical condition that puts you at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or if you are the caretaker of someone with a disability or underlying medical condition.

For more information, a link to the CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions that place you at high risk, and to request an absentee ballot, visit the Davidson County Election Commission. Once obtaining an absentee ballot be sure to mail it in as early as possible to make sure your vote counts!

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With God As My Witness, I Thought Records Could Fly!
For record collectors and retailers, the Coronavirus pandemic put the kibosh of the biggest day of the year — the annual Record Store Day that was originally scheduled for April 18. While the crowds of music lovers and special events are still off the table, the special vinyl releases are still on the program starting this weekend but without the normal big crowds and long lines.

This year, the releases are being split into three “Record Store Day Drops” — August 29, September 26, and October 24. All four the of bigger East Side shops are taking part in the event and will be requiring masks for all employees and shoppers, but beyond the basics, all are following additional methods for protecting the health and safety of customers and employees.

The Groove is limiting the number of customers in the RSD shopping room to only five at a time and advance reservations for specific shopping times are required. For more info, visit them online at thegroovenashville.com, and to make a reservation call The Groove at 615-227-5760.

Vinyl Tap is also requiring reservations for shopping on Saturday and limiting the number of customers in the store. You’re too late to get in on the first round of reservations which were distributed by a lotto system this week, but slots may still be available later in the day. The record store will be open to the public on Sunday and the bar will have normal hours and capacity (25) all weekend. For more info visit them online at vinyltapnashville.com.

Grimey’s New and Preloved Music is taking a different approach. The shop will be closed to the public on both Saturday and Sunday, but orders for RSD releases may be placed online starting at noon on Saturday with special curbside pickup available Saturday through Monday and during regular store hours throughout the week. Also, at 4 p.m. CDT, Hiss Golden Messenger will be taking over Grimey’s Instagram for a live performance @Grimeys. For more info, visit grimeys.com.

The Great Escape — Madison (and their main store on Charlotte Avenue) will be open to the public on Saturday, but with a limited number of customers allowed in the store at one time. The doors open at 10 a.m. at both Nashville locations. For more info, visit thegreatescapeonline.com.

For a list of Record Store Day Drops releases and other info, visit recordstoreday.com, and for a look at how East Side record stores have been handling the pandemic see our “Alternative Grooves” story in our July/August issue.

Quick Bits

  • Speaking of record stores, Taylor Swift once again demonstrated her love for indie shops by donating 30 autographed copies of her new album, Folklore, to several stores across the US last Thursday. Locally, The Groove and Grimey’s were the beneficiaries of Miss Tay Tay’s largesse. Needless to say, all copies sold out the same day to lucky fans.
  • Austin Bauman, owner of Shelby Avenue Bicycle Company and Green Fleet Bicycle Shop on Jefferson Street, recently purchased property at 2039 Greenwood Ave. The former gas station was most recently home to Arbor Springs Lawn Care and is located at the prominent East Side intersection of Greenwood Avenue and Porter Road — across from Vinyl Tap and Southern Grist Brewing Co. Bauman plans to open a toy shop at the location but no further details have been announced.
  • A 40-acre property in Madison at 710 Myatt Dr. has been purchased by the online mega-retailer Amazon for a new distribution facility. The company announced this week the new facility will be one of Amazon’s “last mile” operations that will accept and sort packages from larger facilities for final delivery to customers. Amazon expects the new facility to create “hundreds” of jobs. An opening date has not been announced yet.
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