Entertainers eager to get back to work fear they may have to pack up and head home

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Bar owners are anxious to open, but under Mayor John Cooper’s plan, it’ll be weeks, maybe months.

Each day that goes by, is another day without work for Chris Ferrara, who moved to Nashville seven years ago to pursue his dream of performing.

You can find Ferrara, with his band Chris Ferrara and The Common Good playing at Tin Roof on Demonbreun Street, a bar that’s sat silent for weeks.

Down the street, another silenced bar, Live Oak.

“Since we’ve started, we’ve had live music every night other than some nights of football,” Hasen Lott, an owner at Live Oak said and he’s not sure when the ‘live’ in Live Oak will return.

Ferrara’s entire income is gone.

“Everything is changed right now,” Ferrara said.

Change for the entertainer, is only good in the form of tips. ​

“Our jobs don’t exist until the bars open back up,” Ferrara said.

But Nashville bars won’t open up until Nashville enters the third phase of our four-phase roadmap for reopening under Mayor Cooper. Bars can open but only at 50 percent capacity and live music is welcome, but everyone must remain socially distant.

“When it does open and we get live music back into these venues, my concern is that nobody is going to come because they’re either scared or don’t want to deal with wearing a mask in public​​,” Ferrara said. “It’s going to be very difficult for the venues to pay their musicians when they have to spend more money on cleaning supplies, pay more people to sanitize people there’s gonna be budget cuts all around.”​

Ferrara fears the cuts will start with live concerts.

Lott agrees. “I think we’re going to have to scale back on what we were paying, it’s unfortunate because we’re going to be at 50 percent, we can’t run on 50 percent.”

Lott and Ferrara fear the new guidelines just won’t work. ​

“In reality we’re looking until the holidays, until the end of the year, to get back to where we were,” Lott said. ​

If COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on Nashvillians lasts too long, Ferrara fears he may have to head home and give up on his dreams.

“I don’t want to leave,” Ferrara said. “I love it here. I never thought I would think that way, I moved here seven years ago and I never thought I’d move home, I never thought I’d even entertain the idea, but then again, if the job doesn’t exist or exist enough to pay bills, I either have to get another job or I have to say, ‘Ok, it’s over.'”

If you’d like to support Ferrara during this time, visit iamchrisferrara.com or you can follow him on all social media platforms at @iamchrisferrara.

Live Oak will begin curbside pickup next week.

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