Knoxville bars, restaurants could lose beer license if they don’t follow curfew

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Bars and restaurants in Knoxville that are not complying with the 11 p.m. curfew could lose their licenses to serve beer.

An ordinance on the agenda for Tuesday night’s city council meeting aims to clarify the rules for bars and restaurants.

Knoxville City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday night that if businesses don’t comply with COVID-19 guidelines/rules they could lose their beer permits. They’ve made it, “abundantly clear” that the Health Board’s orders are in fact law.

City council referenced that if businesses repeatedly break the 11 p.m. curfew rule, they could very well lose their license.

“These are not new regulations it’s just a new strategy for enforcement,” Mayor Indya Kincannon said.

This comes as city leaders say they’re noticing an uptick in businesses that are not compliant. Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas says in a check last week, out of around 58 bars, 37 were out of compliance.

In September, the Knox County Board of Health passed a regulation requiring those businesses to stop serving food and drink at 11 p.m. and close.

Chief Thomas says new notices will go out to businesses immediately informing them of the updated ordinance. Thomas says it could go into effect as soon as Wednesday.

This regulation was passed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and it is still in effect.

The ordinance being considered would amend the language of a city code. If passed, the ordinance would add a sentence making it clear that orders from the Knox County Health Director or the Board of Health have the force of law.

City code already says if a bar or restaurant is not following the law, their beer license can be revoked or suspended.

Knoxville City Council held a Beer Board meeting at 5 p.m and a regular Council meeting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 via Zoom video/audio conference.

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