‘We were unfairly targeted’: Knoxville bar owner speaks out after receiving citation for curfew violation

News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The owner of Just 1 More Bar and Grille is speaking out after he was issued his first citation for a city mandated COVID-19 curfew violation over the weekend.

Four more curfew citations were issued this past weekend to businesses in Knox County.

Robert Weed, the owner of Just 1 More Bar and Grille says he thinks they were unfairly targeted. Weed says the bar was closed at 10 p.m. like they were supposed to be, but there were customers still there a few minutes after 10 while they finished their drinks.

“We definitely were closed at 10 o’clock we had six patrons that were lingering a little longer than 10. We didn’t believe that was a danger or risk of Covid. They were all cashed out and in the process of leaving,” Weed said.

The bar was still issued a citation.

“We thought it was unfairly done. I thought that the Board of Health, the Knoxville Police Department and the city mayor were all supposed to be working with small businesses and it felt more like enforcement than education to us. I just told my staff, we’re just going to have to do a better job getting people out at 10 o’clock instead of 10:15,” Weed said.

This is only the first citation for Just 1 More Bar. Weed says officers have been into his establishment a handful of times and they’ve always been compliant.

“I don’t think the citation was fair, and if this is the way we’re going to be doing business in Knoxville, I think everybody should be a little concerned about that,” Weed said.

The Knoxville Police Department says they don’t target specific businesses. In a statement, they say:

“The KPD curfew compliance and enforcement efforts are not directed toward any specific bars or restaurants. The goal is to ensure that all establishments bound by the board of health curfew are in compliance. Thankfully, bars and restaurants are widely complying with the curfew without requiring any law enforcement action.”

Knoxville Police Department

More citations were issued over the weekend to Paul’s Oasis and Billiards and Brews. Paul’s Oasis now has four citations, Billiards and Brews now has five.

On December 9, the City of Knoxville’s law department filed a non-compliance complaint with the Beer Board against the owners of those two bars.

Each business was cited three times (on Nov. 20, Dec. 4 and Dec. 5) by a Knoxville police officer for violation of the city ordinance pertaining to the Knox County Board of Health’s mandated 10 p.m. curfew.  The initial complaint asked for a 30-day suspension of each business’ beer license, minimally, and a fine of no less than $2,000 for each of the three violations.

The city’s complaint was amended December 14 to reflect a fourth citation to Paul’s Oasis (issued Dec. 11), and fourth and fifth citations to Billiards & Brews (Dec. 11 and 13). In the amended complaint, the city requests that the minimal suspensions be increased to 45 days with a $3,000 fine per violation.

A Jan. 11 pre-hearing conference has been scheduled before a Beer Board hearing officer. At the hearing, the city intends to present evidence to support the city’s request for the fines plus court costs, and that the suspensions continue until the businesses agree to comply with the Board of Health pandemic regulations.

Until the pre-hearing, both bars are allowed to stay open.

WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to the owners of Paul’s Oasis and Billiards and Brews. They both declined to comment.

Robert Weed says although he doesn’t agree with the citation, going forward, he will make sure that all patrons are out of the bar by 10 p.m.

Latest Posts

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

WATE 6 Storm Weather School

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter