John Rich Takes Nashville Mayor to Task Over Continuing Shutdowns Amid Coronavirus Spikes
Big & Rich singer John Rich has turned to social media repeatedly to criticize Nashville Mayor John Cooper after city officials made the decision to shut down bars for an additional two weeks in response to spikes in COVID-19.
Rich owns a bar and music venue in downtown Music City called Redneck Riviera, and he turned to Twitter on July 2 to protest after Mayor Cooper announced the new order. As WZTV Fox 17 reported at the time, the order took Nashville back to a modified Phase 2 in its "Roadmap to Reopening" after coronavirus clusters emerged downtown. Those clusters were detected after a number of Nashville bars were cited for violating the carefully mapped guidelines for gradual re-opening.
Cooper ordered that bars that receive the majority of their revenue from alcohol sales would close for at least 14 days, which is the incubation period of one cycle of the coronavirus. The mayor subsequently announced on Tuesday (July 14) that bars in Davidson County will remain closed until at least the end of the month.
WKRN News Channel 2 reports that Nashville reported a one-day record of more than 770 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to public health officials. The Tennessee Department of Health reported a record number of 3,314 new virus cases statewide on Monday (July 13) as well.
That news also did not sit well with Rich, who again turned to Twitter on Wednesday (July 15) to vent his frustration with what he says is unfair treatment.
Rich previously spoke to the Fox News Rundown podcast as he was re-opening Redneck Riviera in May, arguing that a mask mandate was not necessary to protect patrons as Nashville attempted to get back to business. Pointing out that neither the state nor local rules for re-opening required a mask, Rich said his business was offering masks to all patrons, but "if they go, 'Nah, I don't want a mask,' we say, 'Okay, come on in.'"
Rich said that his venue was making everyone follow rules for social distancing, offering hand sanitizer throughout the building and taking other measures, but "at this point, every American adult is fully aware of the risk. They make their own risk assessments. They are adults. They have freedom, and they know that if they walk out of their house, it's possible that they could run into this virus somewhere. But that's up to them if they want to. We just make sure that our environment is as absolutely clean and sanitized as possible when they come through that door."
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