Chuck Ward responds after two concerts at his bar Cotton Eyed Joe, over the weekend that broke Knox county health board regulations.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Chuck Ward, owner of Cotton Eyed Joe, is speaking out after two weekend concerts at his bar with little to no mask-wearing, no social distancing and going against county COVID regulations.
“It’s a business we’re trying to stay alive,” Ward said.
He offered his reasoning for allowing this.
“The reason we did was because we had a show that people wanted to attend that they wanted to come to and watch,” Ward said.
Ward said most importantly it’s not a desire to defy the law but to have a livelihood.
“The second reason we’re doing it is that we have a business that we have to keep open that we have payments that have to be made we have families that have to be fed,” Ward said.
Knox county COVID regulations include 50% capacity, 6 feet between guest that are not from the same household while closing at 10 p.m., all of which were broken at Cotton Eyed Joes
The bar was not cited because the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is not enforcing the regulations unlike the Knoxville Police Department, which is enforcing the curfew.
Ward believes the new restrictions just are not fair.
“We’re are being discriminated against as bars. End of the story,” Ward said.
For him, shutting down is not an option.
“I give up my life to run that bar and we got to stay open,” Ward said.