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Casual pint owner calls order to close bars ‘unfair’ during public forum

Knox County residents will have an opportunity to address the Board of Health Wednesday evening.
Casual Pint refuses to close after Knox Co. bar mandate goes into effect .
Casual Pint refuses to close after Knox Co. bar mandate goes into effect .(WVLT)
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 3:29 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 5:01 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County residents will have an opportunity to address the Board of Health Wednesday evening.

The measure is a recent step proposed by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs to give more opportunities to anyone who would like to provide feedback on the board’s decision making.

The meeting started at 5 p.m.

“The small business community is the backbone of the community,” said the owner of The Casual Pint. He called the measure taken by the Knox County Board of Health to close the bars “unfair,” however, he did say he would support a curfew as a temporary solution.

The owner of Saphire argued that the Board of Health’s definition of a “bar” being any business that earns 50% of revenue through alcohol sales is too broad. He said that although Saphire meets the criteria, they are also a restaurant that serves food at tables.

A mental health specialist called the order to close bars “unnecessarily punitive.”

A release from Mayor Jacobs’s office regarding the event read:

"At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Knox County Board of Health will convene via Zoom for its weekly meeting. As proposed by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs last week, the Board will observe 30 minutes of public forum at the start of the meeting. Each speaker will have up to three minutes to address the Board.

Although the medical professionals serving the Board of Health have declined to attend in person the meeting being held in the City/County Building’s Main Assembly Room—where public forum will take place—Mayor Jacobs will patch into the Zoom meeting from there.

“When this began, the Board of Health acted as an advisory council, but now these doctors are drafting and approving public policy,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “No public institution I’ve ever seen can make these types of sweeping regulations without public input. Transparency is the greatest tool we have in government, and this situation is no different.”

To register for 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 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 4. Due to time constraints, roughly ten people will be able to participate in the public forum, with a few others queued just in case some don’t use all their allotted speaking time.

Those speaking at public forum will come to the City/County Building at 400 Main Street to work with on-site staff to join the meeting.

In addition to those seats reserved for public forum participants, the Main Assembly can accommodate 50 physically distanced people in its upper and lower levels. The line for entry will be form outside the Main Street entrance of the City/County Building. Physical access to the meeting will be restricted when capacity for the Main Assembly is met. PBA will provide masks to those who don’t have them.

Mayor Jacobs will be available for media interview beginning at 12 p.m. today to talk more about the public forum he proposed.”

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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