Axios Nashville

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Happy Wednesday, everybody.

Today's newsletter is 873 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: A new playing field emerges with six-week ban

Illustration of a giant pencil drawing a line in front of a lone woman looking down at the line.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A six-week abortion ban that took effect yesterday in Tennessee significantly limited access to the procedure during the run-up to a near-total ban.

  • A federal appeals court lifted an injunction on the six-week ban following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The newly enacted six-week ban sets the stage for the long-term future in Tennessee, in which nearly all patients seeking abortions will be turned away or directed out of state.

Driving the news: Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi will no longer offer abortions here, citing the state's "extremely hostile" legal landscape.

  • A spokesperson for the carafem clinic in Mt. Juliet tells Axios providers there will continue to offer "much-needed health care services, including abortion care up to 6 weeks."
  • CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health will continue to allow abortions under the narrow legal parameters, per the Commercial Appeal.

State of play: Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III released a statement yesterday clarifying the timeline for a near-total ban described in the state's so-called "trigger law."

  • Slatery said the more comprehensive ban will take effect 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court releases its formal judgment overturning Roe v. Wade.
  • The issuance of a judgment "should occur no later than mid-July," with the near-total ban set to follow after the waiting period.

What they're saying: Advocates on either side of the abortion debate were quick to react to the implementation of the six-week ban.

  • Gov. Bill Lee cheered the news, saying it was "another significant protection for unborn children in our state."
  • Melissa Grant, chief operations officer at carafem, said the six-week ban would be "nothing short of devastating for the communities we serve."

2. Flight cancellations could fuel July 4 road trips

Illustration of a board of cancelled departures, with one reading "let's just drive."
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

This Independence Day weekend is set to be the second busiest for travel since 2000 with a record number of Americans planning to hit the road, according to AAA's holiday travel forecast.

Driving the news: Axios' Kelly Tyko reports the trend of flight delays and cancellations will push more people to drive to their holiday weekend destinations.

  • AAA estimates the share of people traveling by air over the holiday weekend will be the lowest since 2011.
  • Airline staffing shortages, which are already disrupting summer vacation plans, could extend well into 2023, Axios' Joann Muller wrote.
  • Historically, high gas prices aren't expected to stop more Americans from driving over the weekend. For more than 52% of consumers surveyed by The Vacationer, the holiday weekend road trip is still on.

Zoom in: Independence Day is a massive holiday for Nashville. The downtown concert and fireworks celebration last year drew a record crowd estimated at 350,000 people.

Context: The biggest change in travel from the Fourth of July weekend in 2021 is the nearly 168% increase in the combined category of "Bus, Train, Cruise," AAA’s forecast shows.

  • Last year, 900,000 traveled by bus, train or cruise compared to an estimated 2.42 million this year, AAA said. In 2019, 3.54 million traveled by bus, train or cruise.
  • Airfare prices are higher this summer, and AAA found that the average lowest airfare is 14% more than last year at $201 per ticket.

Flashback: Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed during the Juneteenth and Father's Day holiday weekend, Axios' Rebecca Falconer reports. Friday, June 17, was the busiest air travel day of the year, according to the TSA.

3. COVID testing site closing

Illustration of a no symbol with a q-tip as the crossbar.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The city's last permanent COVID-19 testing site is scheduled to close.

  • The testing facility at the former Kmart on Murfreesboro Pike will close at the end of its final shift tomorrow.
  • The city's pop-up clinic events will continue.

Why it matters: City testing sites were a pivotal part of Nashville's pandemic response. But officials say the availability of testing and vaccines from other providers, as well as the prevalence of at-home tests, led to this strategy shift.

Yes, but: "Our team is monitoring COVID-19's presence in the community and remains ready to increase testing and vaccinations if the need arises," Nashville health director Gill Wright III said in a statement.

By the numbers: The Murfreesboro Pike site has been open for testing since March 30, 2020.

  • The site provided more than 100,000 tests and vaccinations, according to a news release.
  • That figure includes more than 13,300 COVID-19 vaccinations since April 12, 2021.

4. The Setlist

Illustration of the windows of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, doubling as a graphic equalizer.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🗳 The Republican candidates for the District 5 U.S. House seat participated in a forum late Monday night. (Tennessean)

💐 A Fort Campbell veteran is on a mission to share the healing power of flowers. (WPLN)

🍽 Kisser, the Japanese comfort food pop-up restaurant, is opening a permanent location in East Nashville. (Nashville Business Journal, subscription)

Do you see yourself with a new career?

5. 🌮 1 taco tidbit to go

Tacos from Pancho & Lefty’s Cantina
Photo courtesy of Pancho & Lefty's Cantina.

Pancho & Lefty's Cantina is coming to Melrose.

  • The local taco restaurant, owned by the team behind Edley's Bar-B-Que, will open later this summer in the Eighth Avenue space previously occupied by The Sutler.

State of salsa: The restaurant's downtown location will close next month, while the Sylvan Park location will remain open.

Between the shells: "Downtown Nashville has evolved since we opened our doors there," owner Will Newman said in a statement.

  • "Although it has been wonderful to be a part of, it's no longer a fit for our strengths of serving the community in a way in which we make a positive impact for our neighbors."

Our picks:

Nate is watching "Only Murders in the Building."

Adam is glad Nate reminded him to tune in to season two of "Only Murders in the Building."