Nashville bars seek restraining order against city officials

Friday, July 3, 2020, Vol. 44, No. 27

NASHVILLE (AP) — Some Nashville bar owners are seeking a temporary restraining order against city officials in an effort to push back against coronavirus restrictions.

Bar owners Timothy Stephen Smith and Geoffrey Reid filed the lawsuit Monday, according to the filing obtained by the Tennessean. Smith owns Kid Rock's Big Ass Honky Tonk and Steakhouse; Reid owns The Local Spot.

The bar owners are seeking the restraining order against Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Metro Public Health Department Director Michael C. Caldwell and the Metro Beer Permit Board. The board had voted to temporarily suspend Kid Rock's beer licenses last month after they were found in violation of coronavirus health orders.

The suit says the bar owners have suffered harm because of closures amid the pandemic and requests an exemption from an order announced last week by the mayor that requires bars in Nashville to close for two weeks.

When Cooper announced the order, he said bars had been the source of a "record number of clusters" of new coronavirus cases in the city, The Tennessean reported.

Alex Jahangir, head of Nashville's coronavirus task force, said last week that health officials had traced 30 new infections in the city across 10 bars.

In their lawsuit, the owners accuse city officials of "selectively" enforcing health orders against bars and restaurants, saying "not one citation has been issued to a protester for violating a health order."

Reid had also filed another lawsuit against Gov. Lee and other officials in May, alleging quarantine orders amid the outbreak is an "unprecedented and devastating deprivation" of people's rights, WZTV-TV quoted his lawsuit as saying.