One member of the Knox County Board of Health has proposed an amendment to end mandatory bar closures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The board passed the order July 29, and it is set to be reconsidered Aug. 19. On Tuesday, board member Dr. Patrick O’Brien, who voted for the closure, proposed an amendment to the order – enforce a curfew instead.
Bar and brewery owners including Casual Pint co-founder Nathan Robinette, who said that he will openly defy government orders to shut down his bar, have spoken out against the decision since it went into effect on Monday.
Fighting the mandate: The Casual Pint defies ‘unfair’ order to close bars and is ready to fight government backlash
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs was the only board member to vote against the closures. Jacobs issued the following statement supporting O’Brien’s proposal shortly after it was shared with the board:
“I’m happy to see this suggestion from Dr. O’Brien. We have received a lot of feedback from the community since last week’s meeting that the Bar Order unfairly places the burden of mitigating COVID on the backs of a specific group of business owners. That’s was why I voted against it in the first place. I think making adjustments that would still allow these businesses to operate is a good compromise because it keeps both our economy and our people healthy. A lot of people have tried to make this political and forced people to take a side, but the reality is we have to look at all angles and this proposal is something that does that.”