The coronavirus pandemic is forcing more and more municipalities to order bars and restaurants to shut down, but in Nashville bars remain packed with patrons. In fact, a number of establishments, including Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock & Roll Steakhouse, are refusing to adhere to the mayor’s own decree to shut down.
Mayor John Cooper issued a memorandum on Sunday, asking “bars on Lower Broadway and throughout Davidson county to close their businesses until further notice.”
However, restauranteur Steve Smith, who co-owns Big Ass Honky Tonk with Kid Rock, and also owns other bars on Lower Broadway, is apparently defying the mayor’s orders. According to TMZ and Fox Nashville, Smith issued the following statement:
“We appreciate the efforts of Mayor Cooper to combat the COVID-19 virus, but unless there’s a statewide mandate that directs all bars and restaurants to be closed, the request made by Mayor Cooper is unconstitutional as he is targeting a select group of businesses.”
We are compassionate with those who have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus and all who are helping to manage the crisis as the entire world addresses the outbreak. However, a Tootsie’s patron as immediate as last night, mentioned having lived through the polio epidemic and didn’t recall such extreme measures being handed down in history.
In response, Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Steakhouse and The Diner will continue to remain open to serve the public until such statewide mandate is issued from the Governor of Tennessee.”
Smith’s refusal to close his establishments comes after reports that Nashville bars were packed with people over the weekend, as evidenced by video footage tweeted below.
Kid Rock himself has yet to offer a statement. His last tweet expressed concern for people affected by the recent tornadoes in the Nashville area.
New York and Los Angeles are among the cities to ban all gatherings of 50 people or more, effectively closing down concert venues, nightclubs, movie theaters, and more establishments. Restaurants are still allowed to offer take out or delivery as an option.
Downtown Nashville is undefeated. pic.twitter.com/BFIOzukFct
— Janna Abraham (@SportsPundette) March 15, 2020
The Metro Board of Health has scheduled an emergency meeting for today at 5:00 PM. In advance of that meeting, I am asking for specific, short-term action to be taken effective immediately regarding our bars and restaurants. pic.twitter.com/xxbuwYypbC
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) March 15, 2020
JUST IN: Several bars on Lower Broadway, including popular Tootsies, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s bar, will remain OPEN after Nashville mayor asked them to close over #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/LfGJ1ZfzoU
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) March 15, 2020