The owner of the Nashville establishment bearing singer Kid Rock's name — Kid Rock's Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock 'N' Roll Steakhouse — is defying an order by Mayor John Cooper to close bars in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus, the Tennessean reported.
Steve Smith — who owns several other similar establishments — said Sunday afternoon that Cooper's mandate is "unconstitutional" and unfair to certain businesses, the paper noted.
"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," Smith said in a statement, according to the Tennessean.
"We are compassionate with those who have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus and all who are helping manage the crisis as the entire world addresses the outbreak," Smith said, according to the paper, adding that "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."
As of Sunday, Gov. Bill Lee hadn't ordered business closures, the paper reported.
The Metro Board of Health convened an emergency meeting and approved the plan that includes shutting down all bars in Davidson County, including downtown honky-tonks, as well as limiting restaurant capacity, the paper said.
Cooper's plan limits seating to less than 50% capacity and total occupancy to 100 people, PopCulture.com reported, adding that restaurant bars also were limited to 50% capacity with no standing allowed. There were 39 cases of coronavirus in the state, the outlet said, citing Tennessee's health department, and 17 in Davidson County.
More from PopCulture:
The decision to close the bars and set limits for restaurants came after a Twitter user shared a video showing a packed bar in Lower Broadway Saturday night, even as people had already been advised to self-quarantine due to the coronavirus. The video quickly went viral, with over 3 million views. It was not a good look for the city, with even celebrities calling out the bars for letting so many customers pack into close quarters.
Country music star Maren Morris ripped the bars for staying open on Twitter.
"While the rest of us are trying to be responsible in our homes and get this s**t over with, THIS?! Broadway, you aren't a hero for staying open," Morris said.
Here's the clip Morris tweeted:
Downtown Nashville is undefeated. https://t.co/BFIOzukFct— Janna Abraham (@Janna Abraham)1584248558.0