University of Tennessee at Knoxville Law Professor Glenn Reynolds is calling out state and local health officials claims over COVID-19 and businesses like restaurants, saying they are “not following the science.”
Reynolds called out Knox County officials specifically for their recent claims.
Davidson County has made similar claims.
Starting Monday, Nov. 30, Nashville will limit bars and restaurants to 50 percent capacity, NewsChannel 5 reported Monday. They must operate at half capacity with 6 feet of social distancing for a maximum of 100 customers per floor, whichever is less.
There will be a 10 p.m. “last call” for food and no entry after 10 p.m., Mayor John Cooper tweeted.
Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, restaurants and bars will be limited to a maximum of 50% capacity, with social distancing. There will be a 10pm last call and service for food/beverage, and no entry after 10pm. pic.twitter.com/D2WCTOfuvq
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) November 23, 2020
On Sunday, as Metro Nashville was considering new limits, Reynolds posted about Knox County “they’re not following the science,” and said he questions local officials for considering closing bars and gyms. His full post is available here on Instapundit with PJ Media.
They’ve twice admitted that their own data don’t show bars and restaurants as significant sources of infection, yet they’ve continued to treat them as such. In the early days, when we didn’t know much, going by hunch and supposition was forgivable. Now we’ve got over 6 months of contact tracing data, and going by hunch and supposition isn’t forgivable anymore.
Reynolds points to the most recent weekly Tennessee Health Department report, available here. It shows the number of active COVID-19 cases by cluster that at the time of the report were being monitored. Nashville reported only one case from a bar and two from a restaurant. The highest cluster was 37 from the generic “community” label.
Reynolds said Knox County has not made the case, based on state data, for closing businesses like restaurants.
Reynolds spoke on Sept. 3 to the Tennessee General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee to Study Emergency Powers, as The Tennessee Star reported. He told the committee that people can generally be trusted to do the right thing in emergencies. While the state has been well governed during this emergency, that may not be true during the next crisis. He urged the committee not to fight the last battle in regard to the pandemic. They can require the governor to be transparent about his decisions
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Editors note: The headline of an earlier version of this story referenced Nashville rather than Knoxville. The Tennessee Star regrets this error.
Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.