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Who is responsible for enforcing bar closure order in Knox County?

The Knox County Board of Health issued an order to close bars amid the pandemic last week, but some companies refused to close, leaving some to wonder who would enforce the order.
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 3:02 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 12:16 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knox County Board of Health issued an order to close bars amid the pandemic last week, but some companies refused to close, leaving some to wonder who would enforce the order.

According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the health department is responsible for regulating bars and restaurants as well as “the enforcement of the Board of Health’s ordinance.”

The sheriff’s office said residents with concerns about non-compliance should relay their concerns to the health department. However, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said that enforcement could result in a criminal charge, making compliance up to the sheriff’s office.

“They are criminal violations, and the board of health made it clear that they would prefer that no one be cited, and it’s an educational process,” Jacobs said. “As far as actual enforcement, it is a criminal charge so that would be something the sheriff would do.”

Casual Pint is one of the locations refusing to close. “We’re not being irresponsible,” said Nathan Robinette with Casual Pint. “We are being healthy, clean and safe. And there’s no reason to shut our economy down again.”

You can reach the health department with concerns at 865-215-5555.

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