Knox County Health Board member proposes curfew compromise for bar closing order

Local Coronavirus Coverage

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Dr. Patrick O’Brien, Chief Medical Review Officer for the Knox County Board of Health, has proposed an amendment to the board’s order closing bars that would allow them to reopen with a curfew.

O’Brien’s proposal would allow bars to open for on-premise consumption with a 10 p.m. curfew. The proposed amendment will be considered at the Knox County Board of Health meeting on Wednesday.

The regulation closing all Knox County bars began at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The order is set to run through Thursday, Aug. 20, but health officials previously said it may be extended, if necessary.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, the only board of health member to vote against the closure of bars, expressed support for the proposal in a statement.

“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.”

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs

The Knox County Board of Health will convene via the Zoom video conference service for its weekly meeting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The board will have a 30-minute of public comment period at the beginning of the meeting. To register for the public forum, Knox County residents must call the Mayor’s office at 865-215-2005 to speak to Marsha between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Public comment will be limited to 10 participants, with others on standby if all participants don’t use their allotted 3 minutes.

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