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COVID-19 Silenced Music City

April 9, 2020

 Covid-19 is affecting the entire world, and it has officially silenced Music City. Walking through downtown Nashville, there is an eerie silence that the locals have never heard before. The streets and bars are vacant of country music dreamers, bachelorette parties, and the charm of ten melodies playing at once. I set out this past weekend to document the drastic changes that this historic moment in time has produced. As I went all over Nashville, I documented strangers just going about their day in their new "normal" that we will all soon rise up from, but I refuse to forget all the ways it has affected us.     

The only sound in Downtown Nashville on Palm Sunday was the sound of the church bells. The photo below spoke so much to me. The church was ringing so loud and the American flag fell limp beside the strong mass of the church.

The church has never been silenced, stopped, or stumped. I look forward to watching this photo's meaning take form in our country and our lives. 

That is, as soon as we get out of confinement...

 We're only legally allowed to participate in "essential activities," but even grocery stores cause uneasiness with everyone in masks. The lines stretch out the front door in the early morning with people hoping to ensure they can find necessities. People take intentional steps away from one another if they come within the recommended 6 feet, and the loud speaker is regularly reminding everyone to keep said distance. 

 Toilet paper is scarce. It has been difficult to find and it's a constant in daily conversation.

Some fear based, but mostly humorous.

 Employees have been mandated to sanitize all buggies (or carts, for all you city people).

 These are the people who cannot file for unemployment, but are required to be among the general public every day and are put in harm's way. Doctors and nurses are saving lives and being thanked in various forms, but be sure to thank those who are also necessary to our society and are making sacrifices that the rest of us benefit from.  

Grocery stores are some of the few businesses that are thriving, but with the high traffic, employees are taking precautions. 

 As they also encourage us all to do the same.

 Some grocery stores, like this Walmart, are taking a head count and limiting the amount of people within the stores. They have enforcement officers and a guided path roped off with caution tape in place to ensure distance among shoppers.

 The elderly are the most vulnerable. I saw a white haired lady in line, wide-eyed and shaking in fear, however, the man pictured below was so kind and light hearted. Though high risk and stocking up on scarcities, he was so gracious to allow me to be part of his day by documenting

this moment.

Like I mentioned before, all the photos in this post were taken on Palm Sunday. I am part of a church that has the staff and understanding of resources to have church online. However, I found a church with an older congregation where no one has Facebook account to utilize Facebook live, or maybe even a computer. 

So I pulled into this church parking lot to find the pastor on the porch of the church and a full parking lot. I tuned in to the radio station and listened to a hopeful word. 

 The congregation all safely and loyally attended the service in their vehicles, clinging to the words of hope being spoken.  

I waited to get out of the parking lot for an extended amount of time before I discovered what the hold up was. I had a full heart when I saw her in her Sunday best, and I realized that she, along with every other member, each stopped at the exit to place their offerings into this box. 

 But this is not the only church doing things differently than ever before. I would dare say that no church has ever cancelled services until further notice, which made me settle into a new definiteness after reading this. 

 Not only churches are shut down, but any place for public gathering or entertainment.

Movie theaters, public parks, restaurants, gyms, activities of all kinds, and all shopping besides grocery stores are closed. 

 Pictured: Edwin Warner and Shelby Community Center.



 All professional sporting events have been cancelled. No one knows what this fall will look like as fans hope to fill the Nissan Stadium to cheer on the Tennessee Titans, but this is now a site where people can come to be tested for COVID-19. 

All schools are also closed until further notice.

Many students ended senior year abruptly and will miss prom, finishing out their sports season and/or clubs, internships, graduations, and friends.

Some leeway has been allowed for specific restaurants that provide pickup and curbside delivery. I personally have tried to support my favorite local restaurants that are still open. The owner of Mere Bulles (my favorite local restaurant in Nashville) said, "I never thought I would be up 6% from last year in sales only to go down -95% within the same week." They are now closed indefinitely along with the majority of Nashville's other local restaurants. 

 With the money I've saved in gas, I thought it was a good trade to support Frothy Monkey and order my favorite: Breve Banana Latte.

I've heard some places in Mt. Juliet has gas priced at $1.50!

While I was driving, I couldn't help but think of those hit by the tornado last month. Nashville actually had TOO MANY volunteers and they had to turn people away. Now, COVID-19 has turned everyone away. But I can't help but wonder where this entire neighborhood is today.

Last month their homes were taken from them, this month their lives are on halt and they're

possibly filing for unemployment like half of my household has.