NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Public Health issued more than a dozen citations to businesses violating COVID-19 Phase Two guidelines this weekend, three of which are bars on Broadway, including Underground and Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk.
Owners told News 2 it’s a double standard and they’re sick of it.
“It’s unfair for 5,000 people to march in front of our place yesterday in direct violation of the Phase Two order and then for Mayor Cooper and Dr. Caldwell to come in last night and give us citations,” said Bryan Lewis, attorney for Steve Smith, who owns Kid Rock’s and Honky Tonk Central, both cited this weekend.
Videos and photos surfaced on social media showing Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk with a packed dance floor and people gathered around the bar Friday night, all violations of Metro Health’s Emergency Order 6.
“This is selective enforcement,” said Lewis, “Mayor Cooper cannot have it both ways. The business owners in Nashville are sick and tired of this, if we were under Governor Lee’s plan, we would already be in Phase Four.”
Many people spending the day at bars on Broadway Sunday agreed.
“It’s crazy how everybody’s protesting and nobody gets coronavirus, but if we go to a bar, we’re in danger of getting coronavirus,” Murfreesboro resident Luke Nikolich told News 2.
Mayor John Cooper closed Lower Broad businesses on March 18 due to COVID-19 and just after bars were allowed to reopen, several places were damaged in a riot on May 30, the same day Cooper spoke at a protest of thousands of people.
“Mr. Smith thinks it’s very unfair that the mayor would invite 5 or 10,000 people to a rally in violation of phase two and then a certain group of these people go and destroy hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars worth of property here in Nashville,” explained Lewis, “And the Metro Health Department and Mayor Cooper have the audacity to come down and cite Mr. Smith’s businesses.”
“Everyone has their right to go in, they don’t have to go in if they don’t like it, we’re going in,” Nashville resident Jacki Robert told News 2 outside of Kid Rock’s bar.
The fine amount will be determined in court, but Lewis said they will fight the citations under due process and equal protection rights laws.