Casual Pint president defying bar closure order: ‘We’re going to come in every day at noon and unlock the doors’

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — All bars were ordered to close at 12:01 a.m. Monday for the second time in Knox County. The order, unless amended later, lasts two weeks.

Nathan Robinette, president of The Casual Pint, said he plans to stay open despite the board of health’s order.

“We’re going to come in every day at noon and unlock the doors and invite our customers in, so as long as our customers keep coming in and trust us like they have over the last nine years. We will be just fine,” Robinette said.

Robinette said the health board unfairly singled out bars by ordering only them to close.

“A lot of our business is packaged, to-go, growlers, crowlers, all those fun things. But we do have a significant portion of our business where people come in, hang out and have a beer, so we want to be able to do that and operate our business. We are going to do that safely and responsibly,” Robinette said.

He said he was grateful that Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs requested public input during the board of health’s meeting this week.

Robinette said it’s unfortunate only 10 business owners will be allowed to talk during the public forum portion, but he hopes he is one of them.

He said he would plead for the bars to stay open.

“The large majority (of bar owners) are doing a good job of cleaning and sanitizing and keeping their staff and customers safe. There’s no reason to gut us down if we’re all trying to do the right thing,” Robinette said.

He said he wasn’t worried about the repercussions of not closing his establishments.

On Monday, Charity Menefee, director communicable and environmental diseases for the Knox County Health Department, said the health department’s first course of action when a establishment doesn’t follow orders is to educate them.

Robinette said he would gladly sit down and have a conversation with them.

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