Dierks Bentley is doing his part to help take care of employees after temporarily shutting the doors on his popular downtown Nashville bar and restaurant, Whiskey Row, after Mayor John Cooper ordered the closing of all bars along Lower Broadway and in surrounding Davidson County due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Monday evening (March 16), Bentley shared his plans after closing down Whiskey Row for the time being: "I am going to immediately give each of our 90 hourly employees $1,000 to help in the short run as our community and country try to get a handle on the situation," Bentley shares on Instagram, going on to "encourage all bar owners on Lower Broadway to take care of their bartenders, barbacks, waitresses, security, dishwashers, etc. the best they can."

"My heart goes out to all the guys/girls down on Lower Broad. Feels like yesterday that it was me down there working for tips," Bentley writes. "Lower Broadway is the heartbeat of Nashville. Let's make sure we help the folks that help make the music happen."

Bentley's compliance with Mayor Cooper's Sunday (March 15) order stands in stark contrast to that of Steve Smith, owner of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Kid Rock's Big Ass Honky Tonk Steakhouse and other businesses along Lower Broadway, who announced on Sunday his intentions to defy the order and keep his establishments' doors open. On Monday, Smith reversed his decision in order to "protect public health."

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday (March 11) officially declared coronavirus a pandemic. According to the WHO, more than 167,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in more than 110 countries and territories; a total of 6,440 deaths have been reported worldwide as of Sunday night (March 15). In the United States specifically, 3,499 people have been diagnosed with the virus, and 63 people have died; in Tennessee, there were 39 confirmed cases, including 17 in Davidson County, as of Sunday.

Within country music, artists are doing their part by either postponing or canceling both concerts and entire tours, while festival organizers are both rescheduling and canceling springtime events. Among others, the annual Stagecoach festival, usually held in April, will now take place in October, while Zac Brown Band have chosen to delay the remainder of their springtime tour dates. On Sunday, the Academy of Country Music announced the postponement of the 2020 ACM Awards.

Coronavirus Pandemic: What Country Music Events Are Postponed or Canceled (or Not)?

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